What Hastings council’s budget plans would mean for town’s CCTV cameras

Hastings Borough Council has proposed increasing its council tax for 2020/21 by 1.99 per cent as it makes plans to fill a £2.4 million funding gap.

CCTV in Hastings town centre
CCTV in Hastings town centre

As a result, the council said a number of services will need to be cut as it comes to terms with more than £55 million-worth of central government cuts since 2010.

One of the services which is proposed for cuts is the town’s CCTV system. But what is being proposed?

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The council’s proposed budget would see the town’s CCTV cameras controlled solely by Sussex Police in a bid to save £250,000.

CCTV in Hastings town centre

Leader of the council Peter Chowney announced a proposal to increase council tax for 2020/21 by 1.99 per cent – the maximum amount – due to ‘cuts from central government’.

The proposed budget would see the council attempt to cover a £2.4million funding gap with a mixture of service cuts, efficiency savings, income generation and using up of reserves.

One of the services the council has proposed cutting is the town’s CCTV cameras.

In a bid to save £250,000, Hastings Borough Council has proposed that it stops funding the system, which currently includes ‘manning’ the cameras, and paying for the maintenance and operation of them.

CCTV in Hastings town centre

A spokesman for the council said four members of staff would be made redundant under the proposal ‘unless they can be redeployed to other roles’.

Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for environment and safety, said: “The plan is not to switch the cameras off. They will still function and the police will still have access to them. However, unfortunately we can no longer afford to monitor them ourselves and the four posts for CCTV operatives who work in the council’s control room will be deleted.

“The original system was set up under a previous government and funding eroded. HBC picked up the bill for the last refurbishment mostly without help, spending approximately £360k in the process.

“No other partners were willing to contribute substantially, including the county council who use it for highways management issues. The revenue costs, and ultimately, the cost of replacement/upgrading the system requires substantial outlay which HBC cannot hope to meet alone.”

CCTV in Hastings town centre

A spokesman for the council confirmed police would have access to the cameras in Hastings via the police control room in Lewes. She said they would be able to direct the cameras wherever they want from there.

The affected cameras are located throughout the town centre, along the seafront and in the council’s off-street car parks.

The budget is now in the consultation process and residents have until 5pm on Friday, February 7, 2020, to submit their feedback.

All comments received will be summarised and reported to the council’s Budget Cabinet meeting on February 10. The draft plan and budget will then be put before the full council for approval on February 19.

The draft corporate plan and budget for 2020/21 is available at www.hastings.gov.uk/my-council/consultations/corp-plan-budget2020/

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