Today, we held our first walkabout for three weeks, because we’ve been rained off repeatedly. And now, this will have to be the last one for at least a month, because of the new lockdown. There were four of us on the walkabout today, from left to right in the picture: Tressell ward councillors Peter Chowney and Tania Charman, Anna Sabin, who’s the Labour candidate for Old Hastings in the local elections next year, and Cllr. Ruby Cox. Grateful for the sunshine, we started at the top of School Road, walked down Old London Road, including High Bank, to the Tressell Ward boundary at the Ashburnham Road junction, then up to Hardwicke Road, North Terrace, and back via Oakfield Road.
Old London Road
Old London Road itself seemed to have few problems along any of it, apart from a blocked gulley drain we spotted, which we’ll report to East Sussex County Council. The road was pretty clean, as was High Bank Close, an area that has been a bit problematic in the past with litter and rubbish. One of the perennial problems here is the steep bank down to Old London Road from High Bank. It’s badly littered, but there’s no safe way to clean it without closing Old London Road. Even then, it’s not easy, because it’s so steep. We will get on to the council street cleaning team though to ask if there’s a safe way we can devise to do it, now that the responsibility lies with the council’s in-house team rather than an external contractor.
One particular problem we spotted further down Old London Road was the bin area for the flats at 132-134 Old London Road. The bins clearly haven’t been emptied for some time (see picture). We reported this, and Council officers are going to inspect it this afternoon, and get the area cleared. It looks like these bins have somehow dropped off the refuse collection contractor’s rounds – we’ll make sure regular collections are reinstated.
From there, we walked up the steps that lead to Hardwicke Road. Both the steps and Hardwicke Road seemed to be free from litter, although we did spot a fly-tipped polystyrene packing case, and litter on the steps up to Halton Terrace. We reported these using the ‘My Hastings’ problem reporting system on the council’s website. Hardwicke Road is one of several roads in the ward that are on weekly black bag collection rounds. But as you can see in the picture, many properties have wheelie bins. The council will supply bins to local residents who ask for one, even if they’re not on a wheelie bin round. Some residents in Hardwicke Road also seem to have bought their own bin. A couple of years ago, we did a survey of Hardwicke Road to see if residents would prefer to have wheelie bins. At that time, most said no, they preferred to keep the weekly black bag collection because the wheelie bins looked unsightly. However, so many properties now seem to have chosen to get a wheelie bin anyway, it wouldn’t make much difference to the look of the street if everyone had one now, and the footway is plenty wide enough to store the bins safely. Some residents have fixed their bin to their property to stop it blowing away (Hardwicke Road can be a bit of a wind tunnel). Technically, residents are not allowed to store bins on a highway because it counts as an ‘obstruction’ (even if it isn’t actually obstructing anything). Also, if the council provides bins to be stored on a highway, the council is then liable for claims for damages if a bin gets blown into the road and causes an accident. There are, though, quite a few roads on wheelie bin rounds where residents already have to store their bins on footways, usually where the footway is much narrower than it is in Hardwicke Road. In Oakfield Road, for example, residents have to leave their bins on a quite narrow footway because they reach their homes from the footway via a long flight of steep steps – it would be pretty much impossible to drag a full bin up the steps. The refuse contractor is currently looking at the possibility of modifying collection rounds, so we’ll ask what the options are for Hardwicke Road. The issue of whether or not residents can leave wheelie bins on the footway needs to be sorted out.
Another problem in Hardwicke Road is a seemingly abandoned building site next to 45 Hardwicke Road. There is a sign on the site saying that it’s owned by Prestige Homes. The council granted planning permission for the site last year, for a three-bedroom house. Planners gave approval in August this year for a fairly minor variation to the proposed ground floor layout, but still nothing much seems to be happening. We’ll try to find out what’s going on – there might be other variations being considered.
North Terrace and Oakfield Road
From here, we walked back up to North Terrace, where the road surfacing is looking pretty shabby, with a lot of potholes. There has been a bit of pothole filling, but there are now just too many potholes for this to work. We’ll get on to it, to see if East Sussex County Council can be persuaded to include it in their resurfacing programme. Then it was back along the top of Frederick Road, where we reported a bit of litter on the footway using ‘My Hastings’, then along Oakfield Road, where we spotted no particular problems (apart from the wheelie bin issue mentioned above), and back to School Road where we began.
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. We don’t know when we’ll be going out again – that depends when lockdown ends (which I suspect will go on on for longer than a month). But when we’re out again, we’ll tackle Priory Road and Halton Estate, and possibly more.