Hastings Battleaxe is three years old today, and shows no signs of flagging.
People ask me why I keep blogging. I guess because it is a writing discipline exercise and I enjoy it. Hopefully, others do too, as traffic continues to increase steadily, month after month.
Philosopher says these posts are getting too long. Are they? What do you think?
|Battleaxe and chum at the Antiques Warehouse|
In 2012 I really wanted to make friends, and I am happy to say this has happened. When I was ill a few weeks ago I was reflecting on this, because they were there for me. The WI has played a big part, but other things too.
Clearly, new friends can never replace Brummies we have known for 30+ years, but it is heart-warming to have new ones.
Other things: getting thin. Pah, as if. Writing more? Yes, I still need to do this. Exercise more? Yes, I suppose so. There are lots of improving things I should/could be doing, so I won't bang on about them.
Wishes for Hastings
I looked at the current Hastings Development Management Plan, but it is so long I lost the will to live. Like most people, I guess, I resorted to selfishly checking that there were no plans for a waste disposal site or suchlike horror at the bottom of our garden, and then gave up reading.
In 2012, I was particularly worried about lack of work on the Pier, but now it is well under way, so we can cross that one off. Next was:
1. Improving the seafront
There is another official document called the Seafront Strategy, which again, I have read. Philosopher even sent a consultation response about it. It addresses most of the points I am concerned about, but whether anything will happen, who knows. Priority wishes:
- Better transport along the seafront from Rock-a-Nore along to the old Bathing Pool site, both with buses, and a tourist service such as a tram or a Dotto train.
- Better signage/information about parking, particularly at Rock-a-Nore Road. Motorists are held up there for ages in summer, which must be very off-putting.
- Get rid of those truly terrible eye-sore public toilets at Harold Place, make a clear access route to the beach from the centre, and spruce up the horrible 60s/70's buildings, such as the one with Argos in it. It's excellent to see the fountain working, though.
- More leisure, catering outlets along the sea-side of the front. Some has been done, e.g the little playgrounds and the beach cafe at Warrior Square, but much more is needed to increase trade/footfall.
- Spruce up buildings generally, e.g shops below Colonnade in St Leonard's. Pelham Place seems to be underway, which is good. There are too many empty shops round there.....
2. Dog-poo and dog control
Hastings still must be the UK dog-poo capital. Pavements and footpaths still require eyes-down surveillance and I can see no improvement since 2012. I mentioned then that a woman I had met had been attacked by a dog in the Country Park, and now just the other week one of our neighbours had part of her finger bitten off, also in the Country Park. I like dogs very much, but better control is needed.
The opening of the Link Road has been delayed, which may give time to at least agree the plans for the Baldslow link from the Queensway to the A21. Currently, environmentalists are gnashing their teeth about the potential loss of yet more green space, but if something is not done, the traffic problems on the Ridge will be out of control. More and more residential developments are planned or underway all along the Ridge and the current road setup is totally inadequate.
I know that funding for road improvement projects is usually linked to economic regeneration, i.e opening up more land for commercial development, hence the Link Road, and now the Baldslow Link, but the amount of designated commercial land round here is getting ridiculous. Just look at the acres of empty fallow land off the Queensway now, and there is going to be yet more and more, while residential development is heedlessly crammed onto any 'spare' playing field or patch of green in the more built-up areas.
A little bit of the A21 is being improved up by Pembury, but it is not going to make much difference. Incidentally, why did they need to clear such a vast area of woodland just to build a couple of extra lanes on the side of the existing road? It looks like the Somme battlefield up there. No wonder people protest.
It's good to see the plans to cut local bus services were largely fended off, but fare prices are too high now, and set to increase......
Anything else? Ah yes, one new thing.....
4. No more supermarkets, including the 'local' offshoots of the big chains.
Hastings already has more supermarkets than it knows what to do with. Locally, we have a new Aldi, which is fine, and is within easy walking distance of Ore village. The earlier Tesco was totally unnecessary and none of their promises about deliveries, traffic disruption etc have been kept. Philosopher came back from the village yesterday with a rumour that the King's Head site will be a Sainsburys. OMG surely not!
Trends point to declining sales for the big chains, as people shop on-line, and interestingly, return to pottering around the high streets, with a growth of independent shops, catering outlets etc. This is a trend which Hastings must support to boost its flagging retail areas.
An 'out-of-village' supermarket would be an utter disaster for Ore, which is just beginning a fragile regeneration. Let's hope it is only a rumour about Sainsburys. Trouble is, the Council seems incapable of standing up to these big players.
Enough of that. Let's remind ourselves of the lovely area we live in, and look forward to 2015. Today the sun on the sea was so bright I could scarcely look at it.
|Afternoon in the Country Park|
|Frosty morning in Bembrook Road|
|Looking down from the West Hill|
|Sun on the Old Town|