JUDGING from recent correspondence and Observer comments, it would seem likely that blunder number 3 is about to descend on our borough in respect of the future of the St Mary-in-the-Castle building, which has twice been the victim of the whims of our borough council.
How incredible will the latest possibility seem to those who attended the St Mary-in-the-Castle Friends AGM last year.
At that event, we all heard the deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and the cabinet member for regeneration and planning, enthusiastically proclaim their support for an arts centre and public performances as practised under the present arrangement.
‘We want this to continue’ was the clear message to the assembled gathering.
How can it be that we now face a real fear that these genuinely expressed statements have been dismissed in favour of a use which could mean a completely different future for this wonderful and precious asset?
Who is calling the shots here? How is that you have managed to antagonise and demean the present incumbent?
We, who have stood by St Mary’s over the years, and repelled unsuitable uses in the past, must not stand aside and allow a ‘one-man band’ to dictate what happens to this building if it is indeed contrary to what was originally intended (and previously supported by HBC among others, for all to see on a board inside) because, and I quote from Barbara Rogers’ letter last week: ‘the council cannot understand or appreciate the arts centre here, the people who use it, or the potential for the future which we could offer’.
Let whoever is going to make this vital decision for St Mary’s and our town, be fully aware of the consequences of throwing away something which is tremendously valued and appreciated.
Whoever makes this decision should listen to the majority of residents, here and further afield, and listen to colleagues’ declared support.
They should give this building the long-term future it deserves with a caring, competent and credible tenant.
PAM BROWN OBE