I’m sure I can’t be the only resident feeling puzzled and bemused at the theatrical local outcry against the absence of David Cameron and his golden handshake when our pier was burned down.
Our local Labour Party has chosen to avoid the facts and take the opportunity to ‘mark some territory’, politically of course. It looks like a classical tale of ‘fox and grapes’. The case of Hastings Pier could never warrant such a hand-out but there’s bitterness that Eastbourne’s case could have ticked the boxes for the money.
Eastbourne Pier was busy, vibrant, had a very popular nightclub, and was one of the town’s biggest tourist attractions when it caught fire. Conversely, our own pier was neglected and abandoned, allowed to become derelict, a notable eyesore and in such poor condition that the local council had declared it unsafe and closed its gates. All traders were long gone from the pier when it was set ablaze so any compensation issues rested firstly with the local council who told the traders to quit.
Given the situation in 2010 and events leading up to it does anybody honestly think that the Prime Minister would consider visiting Hastings with a consoling handshake and a big bag of cash when its pier was set ablaze?
On the subject of funding and hand-outs, Hastings has no reason to feel left out in the cold. Is there another town the size of Hastings which has received more funding and regeneration money over the past 25 years? Do the residents of Hastings and the funding providers believe they have received value for money with the ‘projects’ which all this regeneration cash has been used for? I doubt it.
Gary Parker’s letter published last week, mentions that Eastbourne has a Conservative/LibDem council while Hastings is overwhelmingly Labour. This is unlikely to have had a direct influence on David Cameron’s visiting choices and cash hand-outs, given that we have a Tory MP anyway but current events suggest that our local politics need some fine tuning.