ALTHOUGH Hastings and St Leonards often attract negative publicity, we all know that it is overall a great place to live.
One of the reasons for this are the many events throughout the year that bring the community and many visitors together and gives much-needed trade to the town.
One of the events that has grown over the last eight years to be a popular ‘end-of-season’ treat – the Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival - is now to be a paid-for event.
This will involve the expense of enclosing the area, extra staff to keep this secure and also more staff to collect the money. All this is to be in the Stade Open Space – which will not be quite so open.
What the bean counters seem to forget is that the public expect certain areas, especially on the foreshore, to be always accessible. Couple this with the fact that people will be paying to attend what is basically a marketplace and I believe the visitor numbers will be greatly reduced.
The income to run this sort of event would normally be from fees paid by the stallholders. If faced with a low turnout, they will probably think twice about returning next year.
This is exactly the scenario that happened in Eastbourne in 2008 when they charged entrance to the airshow, people stayed away and they made a big loss – learn the lesson.
We have been getting more and more events added over the years but I hope that this is not one that will end up dropping off the calendar.
Bean counters beware.