Council hits back at MP’s City of Culture remarks

Eugenio Catone, last year's winner of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition. Photo by Alexander Brattell
Eugenio Catone, last year's winner of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition. Photo by Alexander Brattell

THE LEADER of Hastings Borough Council has challenged Southend MP David Amess to come and see what the area has to offer after he dismissed rival towns’ bids for UK City of Culture.

Councillor Jeremy Birch issued the invitation after the Conservative MP suggested that a number of the other 11 towns bidding were “absolute dumps”.

Cllr Birch insisted that Hastings was a viable contender, and said: “We can take him to the Jerwood Gallery and to the De La Warr, perhaps a walk in the Country Park and then in the evening, we can listen to three piano concertos played by the competition finalists. But the coffee is on him!

“Hastings and Bexhill have every reason to bid for City of Culture status.”

Mr Amess, MP for Southend East said that he had not visited Hastings since his school-days and would happily take up cllr Birch’s invitation.

“I think that Southend is head and shoulders above everyone else.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “ We are incredibly fortunate in Hastings to have such a vibrant artistic community with many new initiatives putting us firmly on the cultural map.

“I am sorry that Southend cannot compare with us, and I hope that they will not be too disappointed when they inevitably lose.”

The bidders have until the end of April to submit their formal applications.