Council right to refuse playgroup graveyard scheme

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I have read with interest the letters in the Observer from Rosemarie Loosley, regarding St Clements Churchyard. Whilst commending her care of it, in an emotive issue like this, both factual accuracy and consideration to both visitors and the Old Town community, as a whole, is most important.

Although I would certainly agree that there is no green space in the Old Town for small children (I lived there for many years and have a five-year-old daughter) she is very much mistaken in saying that the graveyard has been uncared for and unvisited. In the 1990s, Ms Utting who lived in the cottage next door, regularly tended the graveyard. She also held a key and in my capacity as a Blue Badge Guide, I visited it on a number of occasions, and I am aware of other visitors too. The graveyard is now unvisited, only because the gate is locked. I always stop next to it on my Old Town Walks, talking about some of those buried therein and there is much interest shown.

In my view, councillors were absolutely right in pointing out that the graveyard, lying close to the oldest complete church, still in use in Hastings, is of both historical and aesthetic importance, when one surveys it as a whole. The siting of Foyle’s Ware here, shows this to be the case.

I hope this letter will highlight the fact that this graveyard does need tending and maintaining, by volunteers if necessary (I would be prepared to volunteer myself), with a key being available, perhaps at the Old Town Museum or Hastings History House? Ms Loosley says she had the approval for Crest’s plans of the Old Hastings Preservation Society, but this is very misleading, as ordinary members, (of which I am one), have not been asked to vote on the proposal, and have given no such approval. Indeed of the dozen or so members I have asked, I’ve yet to find a single one in favour of the proposal.

On balance I believe councillors arrived at the correct decision, in refusing Crest’s application.

Yours faithfully

Clive Richardson

Blue Badge Guide & Tour Operator