Taxpayers still face £100K bill

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THE £100,000 bill for taxpayers incurred in a row over who owns a tiny strip of land on Hastings seafront is unlikely to be refunded.

The costs were clocked-up owing to legal red tape surrounding the development of The Stade and the Jerwood Gallery.

It caused the electricity supply to the new cafe and Stade Hall to be run from two generators.

The dispute centred on who owned a strip of land, around three square metres in size, where an empty electricity substation is based.

When completed the station should provide power to the whole Stade development. However UK Power Networks refused to put in any of its equipment until legal difficulties have been resolved.

The disputed piece of land is part-owned by the council and the Foreshore Trust, a charity that was set up in 1893 to run the whole of the town’s seafront.

But HBC has been acting as trustee for the charity since January, effectively making the authority outright owners of the strip of land, Mr Boorman told the Observer.

A building was also constructed in July last year to house the substation.

At Wednesday’s full council meeting councillor Matthew J Lock asked: “Will Hastings Borough Council seek remuneration for the extra costs incurred hiring generators on The Stade?”

Councillor Peter Chowney, regeneration portfolio holder, replied: “We will charge our tenants for the cost of the electricity they have used as the normal rates for electricity supplied through the grid.

“It appears that there is no obvious way of seeking renumeration for the costs we have incurred.”

One angry resident said: “It’s a scandal as it has cost the taxpayers, so far, tens of thousands of pounds and someone needs to be accountable for what has gone wrong.”