Observer Comment: Renovation works a turning point for White Rock Baths

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THE regeneration of the White Rock Baths, has to be a positive thing for the seafront and the town as a whole, whatever form it may take.

The seafront structure, which dates back to the 19th century, has been empty, and festering for 13 years, an eyesore in a prominent position.

It was closed after years as an ice rink, and there was a Facebook campaign as recently as 2008 to bring back Hastings ice rink. The poor condition of the building has until now been a deterrent to investors.

New business Lifecycle plans to use part of the site as a cafe and cycle hub, with possible future developments to follow. Before this happens, essential renovation work is to take place, with funding coming from Hastings Borough Council, and the Foreshore Trust, as well as Lifecycle.

Some argue that other businesses were not given enough opportunity to put forward proposals for development, but surely it is better to move forward with plans already in place. The Lifecycle plans will tie in well with the opening of the Hastings to Bexhill cycle route, possible development of the old bathing pool site, and the eventual rebuilding of the pier.

Whatever happens with Lifecycle as a business in the future, the renovation works will undoubtedly be a turning point for the White Rock Baths, and make future investment more likely.

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THE Hastings to Bexhill Link Road appears well and truly stuck on a red light. And there is still no end to the very long and winding road we have travelled down.

The powers-that-be appear hell-bent on dragging it out for another three months. And, as Jeremy Birch quite rightly points out, there is probably very little more that can be gleaned between now and the end of March. The environmentalists have put forward a strong case and it appears this may now prove a key aspect in decision making.

Many of the cars travelling along Bexhill Road during rush hour are commuters, many with single drivers all going the same way. More trains and more train stations could be a way forward, if a rather more expensive option.

Businessman Naz Uddin, of the Bengal Curry House, in Marine Court is trying to get the miniature railway extended along the seafront and must be applauded for his efforts. We have a new multi-million pound cycle route along our seafront which is ideal for commuters on push bikes during the better weather.

So if the road link does reach a dead end in the spring, there could still some much greener light at the end of the tunnel.

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WHEN today’s generation need some inspiration in these challenging economic times they should look no further than the story of Mike Bridger.

Hastings born and bred, he left home at 16 and joined the Royal Navy.

He learned life-long skills and made life-long friends.

And what a talent he developed. The Queen Mother asked him to make an icing sugar model of the Ark Royal and the legendary Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie asked him to cook.

And after returning home he was determined to pass on his knowledge and expertise by offering his services to the local college. Mike lived for his students and his family.

He courageously worked through the pain barrier and, as our picture shows, smiled through it all. His family and students have been robbed of a truly inspirational father, husband and tutor.