THE Jerwood Gallery has been attacked by vandals just weeks after a top council official claimed the community was finally rallying round the new development.
Several of the black ceramic tiles on the outside of the new gallery were smashed in what appeared to be three separate incidents at the building site last week.
The police have been called in amid fears that opponents of the controversial Stade redevelopment are deliberately trying to disrupt the final few months of work.
It is not yet clear how the tiles were broken, but security will be stepped up in a bid to protect the gallery.
The attacks come just weeks after Kevin Boorman, the man who has overseen the Jerwood project for Hastings Borough Council, told the Observer that the town had come round to the new gallery, with some of the most outspoken opponents now saying they wanted to work with HBC going forward.
This week he said: “I am very disappointed and it does not appear this damage is accidental.
“It is very frustrating that when a building looks as nice as it does would be targeted in this way.
“A number of people have genuinely told me they are not anti the gallery any more but there are still dissenting voices in the town and it only takes one person to cause damage.
“Groups like Save our Stade (SOS) have always totally condemned violence in the past and I am sure they would do so again.”
Liz Gilmore, the director of the Jerwood Gallery, said: “We are disappointed and saddened to learn that a number of the ceramic tiles used to clad the exterior of the building have been broken, which we understand follows a number of separate incidents of vandalism on The Stade in recent weeks.
“However, we are reassured that the police, our contractor and Hastings Borough Council are working together to increase site surveillance, to help prevent such criminal acts from occurring in the future.”
The gallery is still on track to be completed by the autumn.
Anyone with any information about the attacks on the Jerwood Gallery should call Hastings Police on 0845 6070999.