Why must we pay?

I’M not sure Hastings Borough Council did the right thing charging for entry to this year’s Seafood and Wine Festival.

It is after all a commercial operation and there are no freebees. I have absolutely no problem with that, or with the businesses who make it all happen, but why should we be expected to pay an entrance fee for the privilege of spending our own money.

Anyway, on Saturday, along with some friends we decided to bite the bullet and cough up the £2 entry fee, only to be told by the security guards manning the barricades that we couldn’t go in because we had a couple of dogs with us.

We saw this happen to lots of others too. The six of us ended up going to a pub for lunch instead, so that’s £12 entrance fee the council didn’t get, and more than £80 spent on food and drinks the stallholders didn’t get either. And the dogs were made very welcome in the pub.

On the way back along The Stade we chatted to some researchers from the University of Brighton who were collecting data for an EU-funded study into the local fishing industry and its impact on tourism.

They told us lots of people had complained about the charges and dog policy. It will be interesting to see how this year’s attendance figures compare with previous years.

MICHAEL MATTHEWS

Little Ridge Avenue

St Leonards