I RECENTLY attended presentations on the options to improve access to Hastings Castle and think that Nick Perry and Pam Brown (Observer, October 11) have got a point about the inadequacy of Hastings Borough Council actions on improving access to the castle.
There are two approaches to the castle for visitors. The existing one goes via the scruffy site which you pictured last week. The possible alternative over Ladies Parlour goes past (at the top of the West Hill lift) what has to be the most squalid and unsightly toilet block in the south east of England.
The scruffy site can be controlled by the council under its planning and compulsory purchase powers, the toilet block is actually owned by the council. However, neither of these massively unattractive features is dealt with in the current council proposals for improvement.
Isn’t there a risk that the Heritage Lottery will ask why the council hasn’t already done things which are in its direct control before bringing a begging bowl to them?
A further flaw in the plans is that the council is proposing building on Ladies Parlour an interpretation centre, toilets, a ticket office and shop. There is currently no building or electricity or drainage on this land and the building works, apart from the obvious visual intrusion, will require digging into an ancient monument.
Is English Heritage likely to go along with this idea? A more modest proposal focused on the existing entrance area and old St Mary’s Church - perhaps as Phase 1 of a longer term, larger scale development involving the West Hill, lift, toilets and cafe - could be a much more sensible, sensitive and acceptable approach.