Leading Labour councillor Andy Batsford says the town’s borough council is a “bold interventionist council determined to improve the lives of our residents.”
He was talking after Hastings Borough Council (HBC) carried out a review os a 16 year programme of renewal work in central St Leonards. The £32 million public/private investment has been focussed on the renewal area and according to Mr Batsford it has seen significant improvements, particularly in housing.
“The local environment, town centre and anti-social behaviour have also improved,” he says.
The main achievements listed by HBC are:
- Nearly 600 homes made fit to live in
- Over 300 homes were improved that were in serious disrepair
- 53 homes improved by housing associations
- Nine compulsory purchase orders made for long term empty properties
- 104 homes with multiple occupations improved
- 111 buildings improved through enforcement action
- Long-term empty homes reduced by 30 per cent from 260 to 183
- Reduction in crime rate
- 381 local residents involved in skills and learning projects
Mr Batsford, who is lead councillor for housing at HBC says: “This review shows what can be done by a bold interventionist Council determined to improve the lives of our residents. Central St Leonards has seen a massive positive improvement because of this focused work by council officers, local residents, key stakeholders, local councillors and organisations of all shapes and sizes.
“You only have to walk the area now and you feel safer, the area looks and feels lifted and positive.
“Of course there is still more to do, and this will be achieved when funding is found for projects. It’s areas like central St Leonards that have taken the hardest hits to the funding cuts.
“This council will keep an active watching brief on Central St Leonards ensuring that the work done over the years is built upon. We will continue to explore funding opportunities that will allow this amazing area of Hastings to continue to flourish along with all its residents. Projects continue such as Leolyn House that will give affordable accommodation, like the recently completed Winchester House, which also offers affordable rent.
“Enforcement work also continues in housing renewal. HBC will be making full use of the new powers introduced by the Housing and Planning Act. The Warm Homes Check Service and the SHINE projects continue to improve the homes of those most at risk from fuel poverty.”