Hastings Borough Council has made several community safety improvements in Alexandra Park using Home Office Safer Streets funding. The £208,000 funding was awarded following a joint bid by the Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (OSPCC) and the council to help tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The improvements were made to address safety concerns raised by two women, Claire Noble and Kay Early, through a local campaign. The enhancements include the installation of fences and gates in the lower park to prevent hidden areas, low-level lighting to increase visibility in particularly dark spots, and the removal of dense vegetation to create open paths. Additionally, a 17-camera CCTV system has been installed, and new notice boards have been placed throughout the park, which include a unique What 3 Words location.
The CCTV system will record key locations, including the entrances and exits in the lower park and the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA). The cameras will provide high-quality day and night images to deter and assist in the detection of crime and anti-social behaviour. Although the cameras will not be monitored on a day-to-day basis, they will provide valuable footage that can be retrieved to support investigations when necessary.
Bus stops next to the park have also been improved, with real-time passenger information boards due to be installed in the coming weeks. These will display precise bus arrival times and information on how to access support if someone is experiencing domestic abuse.
Cllr Judy Rogers, lead for Community Safety, Governance and Disabled Access at Hastings Borough Council, expressed her hope that these changes would make the park a safer place for all women, whether residents or visitors. The council aims to reduce the fear of violence which some women face every day and ensure the town is an enjoyable and safe place to live or visit.
The council’s highly knowledgeable parks team ensured no rare or endangered plants were damaged during the improvement process. The council expressed its gratitude to Claire Noble and Kay Early, who campaigned tirelessly for safety improvements and shared the town’s concerns about women’s safety, and to the OSPCC for submitting the joint bid to the Home Office for funding.