Failure to entice day-tripppers

I WAS surprised at the tone of Robert E Morgan’s letter in the Observer (February 28). His impression that ‘Hastings Borough Council tourist department does not want our town to be a day-tripper’s paradise’ has taken a long time sink in.

There’s no excuse to think otherwise. We’ve known about poor performance of our holiday trade for years; trashing the information centre at the Town Hall, deteriorating sea water quality, dog mess on the streets and in the parks, tennis courts at White Rock Gardens in disrepair, coaches causing congestion and pollution searching for drop-off points and places to park, the disgraceful condition of Pelham Crescent.

Tourism South East reported that in 2011 the value of tourism in Hastings was £239 million and 5,160 actual jobs. Instead of supporting this vital trade, and in an attempt to encourage big spending tourists, councillors promoted the Jerwood Gallery as an example of ‘how regeneration can be well-combined with new cultural offerings and make the most of a seaside location.’

This hasn’t worked. Besides, they’ve bought into a vision of ‘a coastal business haven’; 338,000 sq ft of offices and 58,000 sq ft of retail, a multi-screen cinema, multi-storey car park and public squares in the town centre. To Let signs for the offices, vacant since completion six years ago, have been taken down as more offices are built. Apparently, it’s not until ‘critical mass’ has been achieved that this space will be in demand.

Eastbourne is the destination of choice for day-trippers now. Money from day-trippers in Hastings? No thank you.

ERIC CHATER

Old London Road