Are major retailers expanding their activities?

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I HAVE to say I was extremely confused by the recent letter in the Observer from Cllr Peter Chowney, who uses the ‘don’t blame me guv it was the experts’ approach.

A trained scientist ought to be more sceptical of studies predicting Hastings needs more than 20,000sqm of additional retail space in the town centre.

Appreciating that ‘with more people shopping online, our town centres may change in ways that none of us can predict’ he goes on to say: ‘So we’ve made a case for 20,000sqm of retail development within the shopping area’.

I can’t get my head around it.

Are Marks and Spencer, Next, Primark, Halfords, New Look, Boots and Debenhams expanding their activities to fill this space?

If they’re attracted by the prestige and low rent in the new space what will happen to their existing premises? More offices?

Later in the letter Cllr Chowney suggests there are three ‘significant and growing clusters of employers in Hastings now’.

I know that one of these, financial services, is not growing, it’s in sharp decline and, search as I do, I’ve seen no jobs in ‘high-vacuum’ businesses in the recruitment pages.

As for jobs in the ‘creative and cultural sector’ his letter is in an edition of the Observer full of condemnation over the closure of the St Mary-in-the-Castle venue, is it not cultural enough?

In conclusion, he says the Hastings Development Management Plan is based on ‘informed guesses’, this I can understand. Keep up the good work.

IVAN BURGE

Tower Road West

St Leonards