Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Photo by Russell Jacobs

Huge public support for Make Park Safer campaign

A petition to make the town’s historic and much-loved Alexandra Park safer by installing CCTV and lighting has gained over 17,000 signatures in just over a week. It was started on Wednesday last week by Claire Noble, whose best friend was brutally attacked there in daylight last June. Emma Harwood reports.

No one has been prosecuted for attacking Kay Early, 33, last June

Kay Early, 33, was kicked and beaten until she almost lost consciousness while walking her dog on the pathway  between Harmers and Shornden reservoirs and though she recovered from her injuries she has since suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. Read HOT’s report of the assault which took place on 10 June last year.

Although Kay’s attacker was seen by passers-by Sussex Police recently informed her they’ve dropped their investigation due to a lack of evidence, telling her that if CCTV had been in place they might have made a conviction.

As a result, Claire –who had been due to meet her friend on the afternoon of the attack but was running late – launched the petition appealing to Hastings Borough Council, MP Sally-Ann Hart and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne for the installation of CCTV cameras and lighting in the 44-hectare park which straddles the heart of the town connecting St Leonards with Hastings Town Centre. Both women would like to see a fully surveilled, lit and signposted  ‘safe route’ which runs the length of the park from entrance to exit.

“Overwhelming response”

By Thursday 25 March the petition on had already clocked up more than 17,000 signatures and hundreds of comments. The campaign’s Facebook page, Make Alexandra Park Safe, was also flooded with messages offering support and describing other similar experiences.

“As women me and Kay have always been very aware of women’s rights and the need for things to change drastically,” said Claire.

I want a safe path for everybody’s friend to use. I was meant to be with Kay on the day she was attacked and that has played on my mind. I would have been with her if I hadn’t been running late.”

“We’ve been overwhelmed with an outpouring of similar experiences and some of them are very harrowing.

“It’s not only lone women who use the park going for a walk or a jog but young people who use it to hang out with friends or walk through on their way to school and college.

“With the park being situated where it is there’s a lot of worried parents and people who live around it.

“I knew it was an issue but I didn’t expect it to happen so fast.”

Lead councillor for Community Safety at Hastings Borough Council and co-chair of the Safer Hastings and Safer Rother Partnership, Paul Barnett, said the recent murder of Sarah Everard had been a “wake-up call” and “a shocking reminder” of the “level of violence against women.”

He said that the partnership had unanimously decided to make women’s safety a priority:

“As well as the death of Sarah Everard, there have been several attacks over the last year in Alexandra Park, and so my first action will be to listen with real interest to what women are saying about the park, and then to find resources to implement the recommendations that come forward as a result.”


If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link.

Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 14:07 Thursday, Mar 25, 2021 In: Campaigns

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

Leave a comment

(no more than 350 words)

Also in: Campaigns

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

  • Subscribe to HOT