The East Hill Lift by Kevin BoormanThe East Hill Lift by Kevin Boorman
The East Hill Lift by Kevin Boorman

Anger in Hastings Old Town over the continued closure of the East Hill Lift

Traders in Hastings Old Town are calling on Hastings Council to provide more information on when the East Hill Lift will re-open.

The popular cliff railway attraction, in Rock-a-Nore Road, has been closed since December after a small landslide caused debris and vegetation to fall on the track.

The lift, which is the steepest funicular railway in Britain, had only re-opened in October after being shut for a year while repairs were carried out the track and carriage chassis.

Dan Radcliffe, who operates the popular miniature stream railway in the Old Town, said: “The East Hill Lift is a big attraction that brings people to this part of the Old Town and benefits other traders.

"I have lost count of the number of visitors who have spoken to me about this and have been disappointed that it has been closed. I can’t believe no action is being taken to sort this situation out.

Looking at it, it appears that it is only a bush across the tracks and that could have been removed by now.

"The Council spent a great deal of money repairing the lift last year and I imagine some of that was tax payer’s money. It brings people into the town and makes revenue for the Council. We have already lost Easter, half term and the busy May bank holiday weekend. Now we are unsure it will be open for the summer holidays. The money the lift would have brought in if it had been running would probably be enough to pay for the debris to be removed. Why is nothing happening?

Hastings Council has put a sign up at the lift which reads ‘This site is temporarily closed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused’.

A council spokesperson said: “We are sorry for the continued closure of the East Hill Lift, we appreciate this is causing inconvenience for residents and visitors. We are working to get the lift reopened and hope it will be open in time for the school summer holidays. We will update when we have more information.”

The East Hill Lift provides access to Hastings Country Park which overlooks the Old Town and Rock-a-Nore. It was in the country park that Hastings resident John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, got the inspiration which led to his first TV experiments.

The lift also provides views over the Stade, home to the largest beach launched fishing fleet in Europe. The cliff railway was opened in August 1902 by Hastings Borough Council. It was originally operated on the water balance principle, and the twin towers of the upper station contained water tanks for this purpose. The line was modernised between 1973 and 1976, during which time it was converted to electric operation and new cars were provided.