Bathers are being warned to swim at a lifeguarded beach and away from an ‘outfall’ pipe this summer.
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has issued the advice as part of a number of initiatives to ensure that the sea water at Hastings meets new minimum standards.
One father-of-two, though, was disgusted at the state of the water on Pelham Beach after a visit on Wednesday (July 23) with his wife and nine-year-old daughter. Colin Jenner, of King Edward Avenue, said: “My wife Susan and daughter Isobel went swimming in the sea and were shocked at the state of the water after rinsing the swimming costumes out at home. The water was brown and absolutely filthy.”
Councillor Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure at HBC, said: “Although we currently meet the European standards for sea water bathing, rules are becoming much stricter. Tourism is vitally important to our local economy, and the last thing we want is to have to put warning signs up advising people not to go into the sea, which could happen if we don’t meet the new standards.
“One of the main problems is that water from the stream which runs through Alexandra Park, runs into the sea right in the middle of our bathing beach. To make matters worse, our water quality sample is taken very close to that point.
“So, working with partners, we are doing all we can to improve the quality of that water, for example by stopping houses from polluting it with dirty water, and putting new reed beds in the stream to naturally help clean it. We also want to discourage people from going into the sea near where the stream discharges. So we are putting a small rope and wood barrier along part of the seafront to encourage bathers to use the sea a bit further east, where the water is better. Our lifeguards are based there too, so it really is a better place to enjoy our beach and sea.”