On Saturday, 22 of us braved the cold wind, the rain, then more even colder wind to go on a wonderful walk in the Country Park with the amazing Ben Fairlight Edwards. Ben's knowledge is incredible and we all learnt so much about the healing properties of plants that we walk past all the time. We were even treated to Bramble tip tea - standing in the rain in the Quarry! Very many thanks to Ben for such a brilliant walk!
Last Saturday the Friends enjoyed a fascinating talk introducing the lichens of the Country Park Nature Reserve given by local naturalist, Keith Palmer. Keith’s talk introduced us to the different forms of lichen and described their life cycle in fascinating detail. He also showed us colourful examples of some of the lichens we might expect to see on our walk. So, armed with lenses and lots of enthusiasm, we set off towards Barley Lane.
Our first stop was at a small derelict stone barn whose walls were a rich hunting ground for various common stone-loving lichens. A pair of nearby iron gates with an old wooden latch quickly produced some more common examples. A wooden fence and kissing gate together with nearby trees produced several different lichens and our walk finished with close examination of some beautiful foliose lichens growing on blackthorn bushes alongside the footpath.
This was a most enjoyable and informative event and Keith proved such a popular leader that I suspect we will be booking him for a similar event next year!
Please may we draw your attention to another planning application that has implications for the Country Park
We are sorry to announce that Thursdays Photo Shoot has now been cancelled.
By way of celebrating the grant of planning permission for the new Visitor Centre, a photo shoot has been arranged at the site (just by the current VC) on Thursday 19th March at 2pm. All are welcome; representatives of the Friends’ committee will be there, along with volunteers, rangers, councillors, and colleagues from Groundwork South. Please come along if you can!
Just to remind you that at 7pm this Friday 13 March, Cllr John Hodges is giving a talk on pubs and breweries of Old Town Hastings and St Leonards.
Last Friday's talk by Ken Brooks proved extremely popular with over 30 people in the audience. Sadly we had to turn a few people away as we were at full capacity - only the second time I can remember this happening.
Ken is a most engaging speaker and for this talk he even managed, for the first time, to insert a couple of video clips into the slide show.
Our next talk by Cllr. John Hodges is on Friday 13th March on the Pubs and Breweries of the Old Town & central St. Leonards. Let's hope it proves just as popular!
Our website has now been updated with details of all our events for 2015.
Have a look at Events section. We look forward to seeing you at as many as possible!!
Please use the link below to see the planning application for the proposed new Country Park Visitor Centre. This needs to be responded to by the 14 January. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DEADLINE HAS NOW BEEN EXTENDED TO 30 JANUARY.
HS/FA/14/01036 | Retention of holiday let building (with reduction to balcony area to the dimensions permitted by HS/FA/12/00952) and access ramp. Relocation of solar panels to roof of holiday let building. | Rocklands Private Caravan Park, Rocklands Lane, Hastings, TN35 5DY
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE ABOVE PLANNING APPLICATION.
Here is a copy of the comments made by our Chairman Andrew Blackman on behalf of the friends:
I am writing on behalf of the committee of the Friends of Hastings Country Park to register our strong objection to this application. The original building on this site was a small, brick and tile bungalow almost entirely hidden by thick screening. Since then there has been a series of flawed and misleading planning applications, leading to the erection of the current, grossly inappropriate and unauthorised house. What is clear is that permission should never have been given for a two storey building on this sensitive site, nor should the developer have been allowed to remove any screening. Permission was mistakenly given for a very inappropriate building, but what has been built is entirely different in almost every regard, including height, width, type of balcony, location, orientation, drainage, screening, etc., etc.. This permission has now been superseded by the new unauthorised development. Hastings Borough Council has so far failed the people of Hastings and must now do the right thing and refuse this application. Through the developer’s misleading drawings and statements statutory bodies such as AONB, English Nature and English Heritage have made their comments on the entire series of applications based on deeply flawed information. Once again in the current application the information provided is incorrect, insufficient and misleading. Despite this, the High Weald AONB unit have made their firm opposition to this building clear. In planning law the impact of any development on the landscape within an AONB must be given “great weight”; on these grounds alone this application must be unequivocally refused. English Heritage acknowledge that the building as erected has already damaged the Scheduled Ancient Monument. Once again, in planning law the impact of any development on a Scheduled Ancient Monument must be given “great weight”. As this building has already damaged the ancient monument, and can only damage it more by the proposed changes, permission must be refused. This application demands both retrospective regularisation of the unlawful building, and permission for changes to the building, and for entirely new projects such as the location of solar panels on the roof - this is highly confusing and misleading both to members of the public and to statutory bodies. Despite the very apparent distress this unauthorised building has caused to the people of Hastings and far beyond, the developers have made no attempt to explore more reasonable options. Why have they not considered a replacement single-storey building, in brick and tile to blend in with buildings already on site, and with proper like-for-like replacement of the screening which they have unlawfully removed? We are certain that a reasonable and proportionate scheme of this nature would be acceptable both to local residents and to the statutory bodies, but no attempt has been made by the developers to seek a sensible resolution. As it currently stands the building is a disaster for the East Hill and Ecclesbourne Glen AONB, and for the Scheduled Ancient Monument and must be completely removed as soon as possible.