Questions are being asked this week as to why Eastbourne was awarded £2 million from the Government just days after a major fire on its pier while Hastings was offered nothing when it suffered a similar fate in 2010.
Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, says the Government must explain what criteria was used to award the money and is calling on David Cameron for answers.
She said: “I think for everybody in Hastings, their hearts will go out to Eastbourne because we know how devastating it is but a lot of people are raising the question as to what criteria Mr Cameron used to give £2 million to Eastbourne just two days after the fire when Hastings didn’t receive anything. I think the more cynical view is that this is just nine months away from a General Election in an area with marginal seats.”
Devastated by a fire in 2010, Hastings Pier has received no direct funding from central government, but the Hastings Pier Charity Trust has been awarded some £13 million in grants from English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund to help rebuild it. On Tuesday (August 5), MP Penny Mordaunt, minister for Communities and Local Government, visited Hastings as part of a trip to the Sussex coast to see the towns that have benefitted from regional and Government funding. The
Jeremy Birch, council leader, said: “The difference is that Eastbourne got money given to them with no conditions and I can understand why the people of Hastings feel annoyed.”