Hastings seafront barriers to be removed after business owners raise concerns

Barriers installed on Hastings seafront will be removed early next month after Old Town traders said they were losing essential business while struggling to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bob Tipler, the landlord of The Albion pub, in George Street, said the barriers, which were installed on the A259 to give pedestrians extra space to social distance, led to the removal of 35 parking spaces which were of benefit to businesses in the Old Town.

Mr Tipler said he was first contacted by East Sussex County Council about the barriers plan in July, but said they were not installed until two months later when the tourist season was coming to an end.

Mr Tipler said: “We were told these barriers were to protect people against the Covid infections but the barriers themselves didn’t go in place until the end of a really crowded tourist season – they went in place at the end of September, at a point where arguably they are of absolutely no use at all.

Bob Tipler with the social distancing barriers on East Parade, Hastings. SUS-201026-122935001

“In the meantime we have lost 35 parking spaces which are of particular benefit to the Old Town in the wet and windy weather of winter because the council car parks, which are still available, are rather a long way to walk.

“Bottom line seems to be that East Sussex County Council don’t really care about local business or the safety of visitors – just about their income.”

After being told the barriers would be in place until December 1 at the earliest, Mr Tipler and other business owners appealed to East Sussex County Council, who put the barriers in place, to have them removed ‘as soon as possible’.

Until Monday, he said they had not heard back from the council but were ‘living in hope’ the barriers would be removed soon.

On Wednesday evening (October 28), the county council said the barriers would be removed at the beginning of next month.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Following conversations with Hasting Borough Council, East Sussex Highways will be removing the temporary barriers on Hastings seafront on November 9. The parking suspension signs will also be removed at the same time enabling the car parking spaces to be brought back into use.”