COUNCILLOR Peter Pragnell describes the new forum to give objectors a say on developments as a ‘thoroughly good idea’, but those of us who are thoroughly sick of the delaying, discouraging and undermining of town centre face-lifts in Hastings fear that it may be thoroughly bad.
For we have hereabouts a number of highly vociferous denizens (some flaunting architectural pretensions), who are firmly of the mind that everything old must be good and preserved, even if it is a long defunct rotting eyesore (like the pier), and everything new must be opposed on what might be termed the Prince Charles principle.
As a consequence, Hastings tends to be lingering in the sad mid-20th Century dumps (although Jerwood gives us some hopes), while the rest of Britain, including some of the bleakest old towns, is now being enthusiastically revitalised.
The new forum will, I fear, bring a whine of professional objectors out of our wormy woodwork, firmly convinced that they can and should save Hastings from cultural, social and architectual diversity and stylishness.
And because most people are too busy or apathetic to get involved, this unrepresentative minority may well tend to have undue influence, ensuring that Hastings remains a leading contender for the national media’s ‘most depressed seaside town’ designation.