Observer Comment: Welcome news for Hastings pier and fishing industry

THE news this week that Hastings is set to receive lottery funding for the restoration of the pier and an estimated £1 million to help the fishing industry is certainly welcome.

Both the future of the pier and the plight of local fishermen are integral to the town’s future - and both are causes the Observer has rallied behind.

We handed over a 3,000 name petition to the council urging it to work more closely with the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust and delivered thousands of paper fish to the steps of Number 10 demanding a better deal for our fishermen.

Both campaigns are now moving along nicely.

Not quite ‘It was the Observer what won it” but a definite sign that when the people of this town join together to speak, the powers that be can be made to listen.

The struggles are not over yet. The council still needs to compulsory purchase the pier from Ravenclaw and then piggy-back it to the trust, and our fishing fleet is a long way off getting the share of the quota it so obviously deserves.

But both issues look a whole lot more positive than they did a year ago.

Well done Hastings.

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SOME people will go to any lengths to get their hands on a bit of money but to use a Range Rover to plough into a tourist attraction and make off with a charity box is reprehensible.

Although just £5 was inside the collection box, meant for the local RNLI, it’s £5 that has been stolen from a charity that saves countless lives at sea.

The volunteer lifeboatmen brave all weathers to rescue those in trouble off the shores of Hastings and St Leonards.

Considering the length the thieves went to take the charity box, and leaving Blue Reef with a massive damage bill, it was akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The same can be said of the thieves who smashed up the Winkle Club’s charity wishing well in January on The Stade, meant for underprivileged Old Town youngsters.

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THE decision by Hastings Borough Council to link up with a county in China is a controversial one. Not least because of the county’s human rights record and Communist rulers.

As a voice for the town the Observer welcomes any new initiative which can help stimulate businesses.

But as a newspaper and advocate of free speech, it is important to point out that questionable economic benefits should not come at a higher moral cost.

It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.