Back to our Tressell walkabouts today, now lockdown is over. This time, we took a look at Halton Estate, Priory Road and Bembrook Road. It was a lovely day for it, chilly winter sunshine and some fabulous views out to sea from Bembrook Road. Today, we had on our walkabout (left to right in the picture) Ali Roark (the Labour candidate for Tressell Ward in the local election next May), Cllr. Tania Charman, Anna Sabin (Labour candidate for Old Hastings Ward), and Cllr. Peter Chowney.
The Bridge Community Centre
We began outside The Bridge Community Centre. The community centre was taken over by The Parchment Trust a couple of years ago. They’re a local charity based in Theaklen Drive, working with people with learning difficulties, helping them to find work placements. They’re using The Bridge as an ‘overflow’ site for their operation in Theaklen Drive, but sadly the building is no longer used as a community centre. We spoke to a worker at the centre who came out to see us, and he told us that they were hoping to re-open The Bridge as a community centre, but he didn’t know when. While the work of the Parchment Trust is obviously valuable, it’s a pity it’s no longer used to provide services and support for the local community, which is what it was built for just a few years ago. Hopefully it will be used again as a community centre in the future.
Priory Road was looking very clean along much of its length. The area around the bus stop by Halton flats always used to be a problem with litter and overflowing bins, but that seems to be clean and tidy now, since the council took street cleaning back ‘in house’, employing street cleaning staff directly rather than through a contractor, resulting in a far better service. There was some litter and a flytipped palette on the verge opposite the Pop-In store, which I reported online via the council ‘My Hastings’ website, but as I pressed the ‘send’ button, the truck arrived to pick up the palette and litter. I assume someone had reported it earlier – even our super-efficient in-house street cleaning service isn’t that quick!
We also went into Halton Graveyard, an old Napoleonic Wars cemetery where the gravestones have been moved to the edge to provide a walled open space. There used to be seating in here, but the seats were all removed to discourage street drinkers who congregated here. That worked, but it does make it a rather unwelcoming space now, with nowhere to sit. A new ‘zero tolerance’ enforcement regime is now being undertaken by the police with street drinkers in the town centre, coupling this to encouragement to take up places on alcohol detox programmes. Next summer, it might be time to try re-introducing the benches in Halton Graveyard.
Further along Priory Road, we had a look into the covered reservoir. There’s a telecommunications mast in there, which is being replaced by a new mast. There’s a planning application in for that now, which you can see here. However, telecommunications masts are deemed to be ‘permitted development’ under national rules, so approval is something of a formality. There was also some poor surfacing along the southern end of Priory Road close at the edge of Tressell Ward, which Tania will take up with East Sussex County Council, as the county councillor for the Tressell and Old Hastings Division.
From there, we walked back along Bembrook Road, which was looking clean and tidy. The open space that slopes down to the east of Bembrook Road has been managed as unmown grass for some years now, allowing the grass to grow to encourage biodiversity (and to save money). So far, this hasn’t generated much in the way of wild flowers, probably because it isn’t really being managed as a ‘meadow’, just as unmown grass. Hastings Council is looking at the possibility of creating ‘proper’ meadows, which involve a much more stringent mowing regime, where grass is cut very short in Autumn and all the cut grass removed, as well as seeding with wildflowers. We’ll find out if that’s possible for Bembrook Road.
The estate wasn’t looking too bad overall, with the play areas and a lot of the grassed spaces looking clean, although it’s a pity the swings have been removed. But there was a lot of litter and flytipping around the bin areas. Although it’s not a Hastings Council responsibility, the council waste team do visit the estate from time to time, and were there today – they’ll take up the problems they find with Optivo, again. When we do this, sometimes with the threat of enforcement (there are routes through anti-social behaviour legislation that the council can take to require Optivo to clean up the estate), it does then get cleaned up. But it’s depressing that it always seems to deteriorate again after a few weeks. Having said that, a bin area for an Optivo block of flats on Old London Road we reported on our last walkabout has now been cleaned up, and has remained clean since then.
And that was about it for this week. If you’re a resident in this area and you know of any problems that we didn’t spot, do let us know in the comments box below. Or you can contact us using the form on the contact page of this website. And that was about it for this week – back along behind the Halton Estate garages (no rubbish or any other problems there) but did spot a missing street nameplate in North Terrace. Then down Ann Street to Priory Road. We’ll be out again next Tuesday, probably looking around the Mount Pleasant and St George’s Road area. Contact us if you’d like to come along.