Group 3 Feedback

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Group 3 Feedback

This is what group 3 discussed.

Part 1: Economic Prosperity

What is it that is good about Rother?

  • Cheap place to live compared to London, one of cheapest places in the South East
  • Shopping in Bexhill - diverse range of small shops is good
  • Some of the things that are in Rother can be taken for granted
  • The key is getting Rother on the map but not 'killing' it
  • Two main assets are the countryside and the sea and Rother needs to capitalise on these
  • Safety of the area - people feel safe in Rother and crime rates are low
  • However stats always look good for Rother as it is an older demographic

Education/Young people

  • What to do about the young? - Getting a well-paid job, encouraging people to stay here.
  • Need a big injection of youth to keep things progressing
  • Need to attract new companies to employ people
  • Good educational facilities in Bexhill
  • No strong partnership between education and employers
  • Apprenticeship schemes out there but recently only half available funding was used as connections with employers are not strong enough
  • Employers are stuck in their ways and are not coming forward for apprenticeships
  • Own grown' initiative currently available throughout Hastings and Rother but Rother DC do not really interact with it
  • Not enough businesses represented in Rother as schemes are there for helping youngsters when they leave school and letting them know what jobs are available.
  • Local businesses are missing from the event today and a lot of Rother small businesses don't know what they can get from the various schemes on offer - better up take from Hastings small businesses
  • No national entrepreneurial schemes/funding for 16-17 year olds - only Princes Trust with a grant of £500 - word from government is that if a Local Authority set up a new scheme it could be taken on nationally
  • Need to get large and good employers in Bexhill - North East Bexhill development could be a real opportunity for this
  • Communications, Infrastructure are key points to getting people into Rother, along with house prices
  • Lack of commercial space to let to anyone in Rother
  • Rother is not attractive for new house purchases and it does not have the appetite to move on with development

Impact on Rother's economy when 17% of its workers travel outside the district to work?

  • Need to look at what statistics really mean
  • Does work the other way around - Bexhill College have a lot of workers that travel from Hastings and Eastbourne
  • Experience of local job centre is that the majority of people will not look outside the Eastbourne/Bexhill/ Hastings area for work
  • Historically how did East Sussex get left behind regarding transport links?
  • Lack of good road links has made East Sussex attractive in other ways - it is a balancing act that is required
  • Local character is that we are opposed to change in East Sussex

Tourism and transport

  • Biggest tourism attraction in Rother is Camber
  • From an employer point of view people will want to know their route to work so transport very important
  • Hastings Direct offer incentives to use the train - 30% off - However no interest with Bus companies - tried to bring Eastbourne Buses on board but no luck
  • Rother assistance with local public transport providers would be welcome
  • Build on the existing transport we have
  • Buses in the Summer are very busy locally and dangerous overcrowding on trains from Eastbourne to Ashford
  • In Kent Arriva have good link ups
  • Another problem is the lack of a mobile phone signal on the Hastings to London
  • Not enough public transport for students, especially the early mornings
  • Can public transport support the amount of people using it?

Future work options

  • Is there a future for home working?
  • Main thrust of workers for Hastings Direct is in the office on the front line services
  • How much do organisations use 'blue sky thinking' and focus on the now?
  • Different ways of training in colleges - still key thing is how do we increase the link between business and education
  • Hastings Direct have set-up with Brighton University and liaise with them regarding course contact and how prepared students will be once they have completed the course and actually begin working. This is helping students being better prepared for work
  • Educational facilities have to offer certain parts of the course such as numeracy otherwise will lose out on funding
  • A lot of young people feel let down by the education system - end up 22 or 23 years old with no job to go into

Broad outcomes of The Corporate Plan

  • Own grown partnership is missing from the plan
  • Joined up working would be of more benefit
  • Use resources already on offer or available
  • Should we still be focusing on town centres? A lot of people seen them as being 'finished'
  • Opportunities in Bexhill to bring in more stores
  • Nationally town centres are changing, need revitalising, people tend to go to town centres for leisure activities now
  • Making the road in front of the DLWP pedestrianised would make a real difference
  • Mustn't forget Battle and Rye as well
  • Still worth putting effort into town centres
  • Number of empty shops in Bexhill is not too high - perhaps because a number of premises may be owned by the shop keeper and live above the business
  • Visitors spend in Bexhill is higher than residents
  • How do we sustain events in Bexhill - feeling is we are good at events but perhaps people just expect them to happen rather than actually supporting them
  • 1066 is not played on enough in Rother and especially Battle
  • Outside of the district people do not know where Bexhill and Rother etc. is
  • Great assets in Rother but don't market it well enough - perhaps a package could be offered with all the other local councils and be marketed together
  • 1066 was supposed to being doing that but through these discussions it sounds like it is not working
  • Have to make sure people want to live here
  • Key could be to compliment other events already established in the local area - for example Wealden are holding a food and drink festival in the grounds of Pevensey Castle in August which was inspired by the Hastings Fish Festival. Pick a time of year when there is not a lot of competition for other events and look at an idea in order to bring people into the district

Part 2:  Stronger Safer Communities

  • Eye opener to see how many homeless people there are in Bexhill (14 counted in one evening) - didn't expect the number to be so high
  • Homelessness needs to be reflected under this banner
  • Welfare to work - helping people to come off benefits needs to be added into the plan
  • Safer communities work very much dependant on partnership working
  • Crime is dropping within the district - not long ago public transport was banned on the Pebsham estate now a regular bus service
  • Need to link the outcome of promoting diversity and inclusion of voluntary work etc. to the other broad outcomes of the plan
  • Key is that the Council and community are supporting the people that are doing good things in the area
  • Anti-social behaviour - encourage night time activities for people, whilst still making areas feel safe - Volume of people makes a town feel safe
  • What are the impacts of making Bexhill more vibrant? - More anti-social behaviour? Battle is the biggest area for anti-social behaviour with young people
  • There are points in the corporate plan that impact on outside providers so must make sure support is available to them so objectives can be achieved
  • Make sure all the objectives link up with one another
  • The list for Stronger Safer Communities looks about right but have to make sure links with other objectives is considered and monitored
  • Affordable Housing numbers is a real issue - Rother does not seem to be able to 'crack' the figures
  • Leisure centre and leisure pool site - supplier to come in and provide a service is being sought
  • Cycle network needs to be set up so people can have a healthy lifestyle
  • How much of the corporate plan is resource dependant?
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