Your Letters April 4

We welcome your letters - email them to observer@trbeckett.co.uk Please include your name and address if your letter is for publication.

Awful carpark

ON Easter Monday I had the unpleasant experience of parking in the unmade part of Rock-a-Nore car park. It was, when I last used it in the autumn of last year, in a poor state of repair, however, nothing prepared me for the current disgraceful state it is now in.

There were too many back jarring, suspension jerking and possible car damaging potholes to count. With the bad weather the potholes were filled with water and the track ways were a slurry of mud. The family had to exit the car from one side, so as not to wade through the large puddle on the other and then had to pick our way carefully through the mess to avoid picking up too much muck on our shoes and clothes. I noticed several parked cars had been slobbered up with mud from the passing traffic which was in addition to the collection of muck picked up by all cars using the using the track ways.

For the wheelchair-disabled unable to find a disabled parking space on the made up ground, it must have been a nightmare trying to avoid the mud and downright dangerous trying to negotiate round the potholes.

My daughter decided it was unwise to use the pushchair and opted for the baby sling instead - however, there must have been many young mothers who did not have the choice.

The car park is a cash cow, therefore it can have nothing to do with available funding for keeping it in a good state of repair. So, it must all come down to management, or rather the lack of it! How often is it inspected and has an H&S assessment been carried out recently? Well in my phone call to the council, expressing my displeasure, I was informed that no works were scheduled for the car park but, in view of my comments, they would ask the Highways Manager to inspect the site.

As a paying customer of the car park and a Hastings ratepayer, I do take objection to having to point out to the local council the disgraceful and dangerous state of the car park, when it is clearly their responsibility to ensure it is kept in good order.

M J PARRIS

Bower Close

Rip-off parking

HMMM - all these new buildings going up in Hastings - the new multi-layered car parking and enforcement regime - Hastings Borough Council extending parking charges - it's obvious that all this extra office space is to accommodate the thousands of employees needed to process it all plus thousands more parking fuhrers to enforce and penalise us all - that is, the few hundred left in Hastings who don't actually work in the parking industry.

Those parking fuhrers will naturally have to issue lots more tickets in order to pay the salaries of all those new regulation quoting desk jockies at Jobsworth House where facilities will be provided for front line staff such as the fuhrer I saw recently photographing his handiwork after he'd left a greeting card from Hastings Parking "Services" on a van in Elphinstone Road - heinously parked with two wheels a few inches on the muddy verge (but not sticking out in what is a busy road when Hastings United are at home). After all - they will want to sit down after a hard day and swap snaps and enforcement anecdotes with their colleagues.

Ravenside is patrolled by Clampett & Co, Morrisons have gone down the same road, you have to pay to park at the Conquest Hospital (best to get ill in Wales - the NHS there is abolishing this repellent charge) and the new super dooper station at Hastings (the only place in town where motorists weren't ripped off) has no car parking spaces at all for day trippers thinking about using the train. Well - for two years anyway - this is while even more new buildings go up where, er, the old station car parks used to be.

Floating double yellow lines next - whether the tide's out or in - HBC will soon be cashing in should you wish to park yourself on the beach.

The words "cash, cow, rip" and "off" spring to mind.

SIMON STODDART

The Ridge

Old oaks felled

IT is with great sadness and anger that the residents of Upper Clarence Road have this week watched helplessly as developers have razed the rear garden of the old Nicola Rodmell School to the ground. Two huge oak trees that were well over a 100-years-old have been felled, and it seems that we can do nothing to stop it.

The planning department are, apparently, impotent when it comes to conservation. I wonder how many of your readers know this?

All complaints have been met with much hand wringing, but no action. It seems that owners have the right to cut down whatever they like on their own property, as long as it has no specific preservation order.

These developers have no planning consent as yet, but it is blatantly obvious they expect to get it, as this destruction has been done prior to any plans being submitted, presumably so no-one can object in advance.

Our road is unadopted, with no drainage and only two street lights, but, needless to say, we still pay the full council tax. There was precious little traffic down here. As it is a dead end, but all this will change if this development is allowed to happen.

It seems that we are all powerless to stop anything in this country any more. We are constantly forced to accept everything that is foisted upon us. Immigration, European constitution, speed cameras, humps, taxes and more taxes, fuel prices, robbed blind by just about every major company. Nobody wants these things, but you all get them anyway. Isn't it great to be British!

MR P. SLEET

Upper Clarence Road

Mean-minded

I THOROUGHLY endorse Bronwen Griffiths's sentiment in last week's letter page about Morrisons mean-minded attitude over parking. I for one will not spend any more money there again Whilst I can appreciate the fact that the car park is for customers' use, to stop these customers nipping to the bank or picking up, say, some dry cleaning is not what I would call public spirited. I must say, however, that the problem is provoked by Hastings Borough Council increasing the car parking charges to 75p per half hour, making a quick "nip into town" an expensive business. This extortionate cost must affect the trade in town as there is nowhere you can stop to do a quick errand in Hastings now.

CAROL ARDLEY

Shepherds Way, Fairlight

New dog laws

ONCE the new law comes into force making it an offence for a dog to be off its lead in the park, no doubt the Rangers will be clamping down on all and sundry. Yet, at the same time, our intrepid Rangers say they can do nothing about cyclists who break the by-law 5(ii), because they go too fast and can't be caught. So, may I suggest that dog owners get on their bikes and take Rover for a 'mad half hour's tour' of the Park, in which case the Rangers would be well and truly up the Swannee.

TONY MILES

Park Drive

Not humane

I WOULD like to comment on the woman who is keeping a poor little dog alive after the vet's (professional) opinion was that it would be better off not suffering.

Especially if the dog needs to lose another limb, it is not fair on the animal to go through the trauma. A vet gives an opinion on what they feel is right morally and for the animal in question - NOT for the owner.

I strongly feel that the RSPCA should check the animals and environment to ensure that what is happening is humane - to me it does not sound it but I am just an animal lover - and not a professional in this area.

I have horses and cats and have always had dogs and other animals until recently.

I would never be able to put my feelings before an animal - no matter how much it hurt me.

If I was ever suffering - if it were possible, I would rather not go through more than necessary.

JACQUI KEMP

Tile Barn Road

Animal prison

I AM sure I am not alone in feeling uneasy at the imprisonment of animals at the Blue Reef Aquarium?

I feel that keeping any animal just for the public to gawp at is wrong and it is getting worse as these kind of businesses are acquiring bigger creatures to draw the crowds.

Many of the animals kept in these relatively small tanks would travel thousands of miles in their natural environment and should not be shut in an aquarium for amusement and profit.

I urge people to avoid supporting these places. I fully support the regeneration of Hastings, but only in the right way and imprisoning animals is certainly not the right way.

M. TILBROOK

Priory Road

Democracy?

I'M sure I'm not the only voter in Hastings or St. Leonards or Rye who wonders how 'we' voted in the decisions taken in the House of Commons.

I guess that these decisions are made for us by the Government Whips.

So, how did 'we' vote abut the Post Office closures and were any of the three post offices closed at Westminster?

Perhaps our MP could spend some of his expenses with the Observer and keep us better informed.

REG PHILLIPS

Hurst Way

I NOTICED our MP, Michael Foster, has been supporting the residents of the Old Town to keep its Post Office open in George Street. Is this the same Michael Foster who voted last week with the Government to shut 2,500 post offices over the country? Funny old world our politicians live in.

PETER MOFFAT-BAILEY

Greville Road

MICHAEL Foster, Man or a Mouse?

I was very surprised to see in the Daily Telegraph, that Michael Foster voted with his Government to continue with the current round of Post Office closures last week.

I cannot see how he can raise the matter in Parliament supporting his local constituents in their fight to save local branches and when given the opportunity by the Conservative Party to support a motion to suspend the closure programme, he votes for the closures!

J. NAYLOR

By e-mail

Thank you

WHILST climbing the very muddy East Hill on Monday March 17 to observe a site for a bench seat in memory of my late husband, my friend and I got into difficulties and we would like, through your column, to thank the very gallant gentleman who was walking his dog, for his help in getting us back down the hill to Tackleway, in one piece. If it had not been for him, I fear we should have been literally 'damsels in distress'! We are extremely grateful.

MRS WENDY ROYLE

Worthing, West Sussex

Friendly pub

RE: Hastings Half Marathon: I wanted to thank the Landlady and staff of the Fountain Public House for their hospitality in letting many runners (myself included) use their toilets just before the race. The public toilets were shut and with nowhere else to go (it was too late to run to the loos by the Old Bathing Pool area) many of us tried and were able to use the Fountain. Sweet relief! I have run many of these events and it's rare to find pubs this accommodating!

It can only be hoped that many runners saw the Fountain for what it is - a Bikers' pub. And, like all bikers' pubs, it is full of good people from all walks of life (plus a great juke box and excellent bands!)

Thanks again.

PETE PRESCOTT

Emmanuel Road

Sensationalism

LOOK out Hastings we are going to suffer further sensational reporting on the three schools which are currently under achieving.

Now that the beloved editor has had a meeting with Sir Dexter Hutt we can expect another load of nonsense to be appearing in the local.

He has little idea why these schools have been low in the national league tables, and does not seem to appreciate that in a town which has a high number of single parent families little time is spent helping their offspring with their education.

Furthermore he appears to be unaware that youngsters moving from primary education often lack the basic learning skills and have to go through a new and stressful induction to learn the basics to allow them to achieve some basic work ethic when they arrive at their senior school.

I suggest that our renowned editor spends more time addressing the sensationalism that the Observer calls subjective journalism. Take the latest stories about the drunken yob culture, a small amount of misbehaviour has been blown up, and the well behaved are being tarred with the same brush. Try reporting on the good, and not always the bad and the ugly. Because there is more good than bad.

We have seen what can be achieved if one understands and reports the facts in a sensible way.

DAVID ROUNDELL

Old Roar Road

Tubman

WHAT a totally fantastic town Hastings and St Leonards is!

I am currently home for a lovely long Easter holiday break from the University of Bristol, where like our great town; their city is undergoing a considerable amount of regeneration.

It is a great sign to see our country progressing in the right direction, with the investment provided where it is most needed and well deserved.

Bristol is similar to Hastings in that the modern architecture complements the beauty of its historical setting well, giving character to our surroundings. Even though I have a close connection to Bristol now, it is so lovely to be back in Hastings, where my roots lie.

Within a week of being back I have enjoyed a number of lovely meals out and around town, visited the country park and the William Parker Sixth Form Centre with its new building; seen the beauty of two masterpieces, being Alexandra Park and St Leonards Gardens and hope to view the newly refurbished aquarium very soon.

As I have mentioned, my roots have been firmly located in this town for generations on both sides of my family; something I am very proud to be part of. I have a keen interest in local history and through this I found out that the former local seaside personality Biddy the Tubman was my great, great grandfather. For those who don't remember Biddy he used to perform an array of tricks from a tub, just off the Hastings coast. He also became the Tubman of Europe and received a RNLI silver medal from King Edward V11 for bravery on the lifeboats.

It is this medal that close relatives of mine have been unable to trace and I was wondering if anyone in the town knew of its whereabouts so that we know it is safe or whether anyone would be willing to sell it if they do have it? Peoples help would be much appreciated as it was a rare medal to achieve.

I wish the town all the best for the future and as a politics undergraduate I am keeping my fingers crossed for a healthy voter turnout in the May local elections; as democracy is certainly the heart of a society and allows things to continue to flourish.

JAMES BACON

politics undergraduate

University of Bristol

Stamco

I HAVE just read Joe Burnett's letter re STAMCO. I thank Joe for writing and you for publishing the truth at last. I remember Joe.

When my parents, Kathleen and Stanley Shepperdson, the founders of STAMCO, bought a beautiful piece of land at Pett Village and built a lovely pavilion on it for the works' team, it was Joe who marked out the pitch for Dad.

My parents arranged exchanges with a team from a French factory at Bethune. Our team would go over with their families and stay with the French families, and vice-versa.

Some families forged strong friendships. In one case I know the friendship still exists today. I think these arrangements started before the official twinning of Hastings and Bethune.

For many, many years my parents' company funded the STAMCO Sussex Open Table Tennis Tournament. Competitors came from all over the world and I gave the prizes out for two or three years. Amongst other donations, a large sum was given to build a learner swimming pool at a school where I was teaching.

It took Bert Small, my parents' MD for thirty-one years, five years to negotiate the purchase of the site at Churchfields from the Council, because my parents' philosophy was only to own freehold properties and the Council preferred to lease.

A large warehouse was built which could be expanded when needed. The Council, in turn, insisted the land only be used for STAMCO. This is where the main factory is now.

Whilst my parent ran the company, and until Bert resigned, everything was owned outright, including the lorry fleet, company cars and fork lift trucks. All properties were freehold and unencumbered. This was brought about by my parents' thrift and good husbandry with Bert's negotiating skills.

My brother decided to put the lorries and other assets on contract hire and mortgage some property. I then decided to sell my fifty-one percent interest in the company.

I cannot believe that my brother would have wanted my parents' achievements to have been credited to him - or why anyone would want to.

JULIA MOYNIHAN

(nee Shepperdson)

St Leonards

Trains

I AM writing in response to comments made on Question Time in February indicating that the Labour Party have instigated more public transport to enable people to get out of their cars and on to trains and buses - however, many people cannot be included in these plans.

Two and a half years ago, many small stations throughout the south of England experienced radically reduced stopping times of trains at local country stations. This has had a devastating effect on communities who are now struggling to remain independent in their chosen place of habitation.

Three Oaks, near Hastings, East Sussex, is one of those communities. Despite meetings, letters and surveys, the decision had obviously already been made to restrict the stopping times of trains in order to comply with the franchise for a faster train from Brighton to Ashford International.

Since the 'downgrading' of Ashford and the construction of Ebbsfleet, it had been hoped that the decision would be reviewed in order to allow trains to stop at more convenient times.

Trains used to stop at Three Oaks Station every hour both ways but, since December 2005, they have stopped at 7am, 9.27am and 11pm on their way to Hastings and at 6am, 5.15pm and 10.42pm on route to Ashford.

Residents are only petitioning for more convenient stopping times rather than the very early and very late times which are seldom used, if ever.

Taking the 9.27am train into Hastings means a wait until 5pm before the return journey can be made - and getting into Rye or travelling to Ashford is totally out of the question.

The nearest public transport is a bus service one mile away and in order to reach this it is necessary to walk along a winding pavement-less road which, for the past ten years or so, has been used as a cut-through for traffic going to and form Hastings and Rye.

Many village residents - some of whom have lived in the village for many years - have to rely on friends or relatives to take them to and from shops.

From 1984 until 2005, as a village resident, I used the train service often in order to travel to Rye and Hastings and even took my bike on several occasions. When my children were young, they used the train to go to and from school in Rye, until the train times changed many years ago and consequently did not fit in with school hours.

My car was out of action for several days on three occasions last year which caused me concern as my active, very elderly mother lives with me and her well-being is paramount to me.

I would be interested to receive your comments.

ZENA PEARSON

Three Oaks

Priorities

RE: K.L. Holmes (Observer March 21). You are not alone. My wife's cancer had returned and she went through an intensive series of tests over a short period of time - the results to be revealed in March 18. Imagine our shock to be told by the receptionist that her appointment had been cancelled, in favour of an audit.

This has been an extremely distressing time for all of our family. To be told that your health comes second to the counting/costing of equipment leads me to conclude that Labour's much-vaunted commitment to the NHS is not quite what we were led to believe.

My wife has absolutely no complaint against the treatment or staff - all of whom have been excellent. But, the administration!!! Draw your own conclusion.

M. MERRIT

Old London Road

Families

I HAVE traced my family tree back to 1789, and found that many of my ancestors were true Romany gypsies from Sussex. If anyone recognises the name Samson Roberts, or the surnames Elliott or Clark, I'd love to hear from you, we may be related! I am happy to share my tree.

MRS MARKHAM

16 Thompson Road

Keresley End

Coventry CV7 8JW

Henpals

YOUR female readers may be interested in Henpals which is a club for women to make contact with other local women.

I know, from my own experience, that when you move to a new place it can be difficult to make friends, as well as at other times in life such as leaving work to have a baby, being widowed, newly retired or coming through a divorce. The Henpals website means that women can find other members who live in their area to make friends and share interests together.

Amongst many other things, we have a Book Club with a monthly prize of a 10 book token. Members can also send in photos and news of current projects for our monthly news page - many members are very interested in various aspects of needlecrafts and lots of ideas are swapped in our forum section.

Annual membership of Henpals is 5 to cover our running costs - we have kept this as low as possible so that it is open to all women.

More information is available at www.henpals.com or do please email me at jenny@henpals.com if you have any queries.

We look forward to welcoming you!

JENNY ROPER

Lymington

Hants

Drinkers

CYCLING through the delightful Egremont Place yesterday (Tuesday), imagine my surprise when I saw two boys who cannot have been past nine years old or so with a can of strong beer in their hand happily drinking away.

Young people drinking have recently been in the news, but five questions have to answered here:

1. Why aren't these boys, as well as others I see skiving off in the area, at school?

2. Why isn't there someone about to check on them?

3. What kind of society are we living in, when these children, this country's future in fact, can be allowed to do this?

4. Where are they getting the drink?

5. Why aren't the boys' parents checking on their own children?

I thought it was very sad to see this; however, I was equally sad to be able to say to myself that I was not surprised to see it.

K. MORRIS

Mount Pleasant Road

Riders

WE would like to respond the article in the Hastings Observer (March 21) "Riders accuse council of double standards over ponies" as we do not feel our argument was accurately reflected and much of the information we passed to the journalist was overlooked.

Firstly we would like to congratulate HBC again on allowing the Exmoor ponies to graze on some land on the country park. The Exmoor pony is one of the most endangered native species in this country. The ponies are well worth a visit and we hope they will become regular visitors to the park.

The arguments presented by the unidentified officer from HBC that we have heard many times before are generally unjustifiable and we produced a document in response to that in November 2006, to which we were promised a written response, which has never arrived. This document is available on our website www.harba.org.uk.

We would like to make it clear that Hastings & Rother Bridleways do not wish to have access to glens and cliff areas and have made the council aware of that; these areas are not suitable for either horse-riding or cycling.

However the Environmental Stewardship Scheme under which Fairlight Place Farm is managed does actually encourage the provision of permissive bridleways, as well as disabled access and actually pays landowners to develop these. Elsewhere in the country landowners have embraced this scheme and indeed many SSSIs also include equestrian access.

HBC have consistently dismissed our requests for improved off road access for horse riders which is extremely limited in this area. There are over 500 horses (and rising) around the eastern perimeters of Hastings, which HBC feels they can neglect because they are not actually within the borough. However they feel it is okay to ignore the fact that most of their owners live in Hastings, where they vote and pay their council tax. Indeed an HBC survey found that 39% of residents wanted improved equestrian and cycling access. The statistics and case studies we could provide to support the case for equestrian access and multi-user paths are overwhelming but HBC still feels it is justified to dismiss these.

All we ask is that horse riders are treated fairly and equally with other non-motorised forms of transport - horse owners and riders vote too.

SARAH UPTON

On behalf of Hastings & Rother Bridleways Association

Extra parking

THE decline of Hastings Pier, lack of attendance at The White Rock Theatre, the awful mess that used to be the White Rock Baths/skating rink, Jerwood's proposed art gallery and lack of town centre parking and Bottle Alley have all taken up lots of (well deserved) space in this newspaper over the last couple of years and yet there is a solution that could go a long way towards solving all of these problems and it's quite simple really: convert the former baths to underground multi-storey car parking, connected to the existing underground car parks at the pier and Carlisle Parade and suggest that Jerwood build their gallery on the top at parade level.

The parking would make visiting the area easy and visitors to the gallery would also be tempted by the pier etc.

'Ah!' you may say, but what will it cost?

Well, in 2003 when I was a Hastings Borough Councillor my Scrutiny Committee commissioned a report - of which I still have a copy, and 392 spaces could have been provided at a (then) cost of 25-30,000 per parking space and what an appropriate parking-related use of the parking surpluses that have been accruing! This would be real 'regeneration' and for any council to suggest that they don't want to encourage parking because it encourages the use of cars and this increases carbon emissions and then to permit spoil to be removed from the station plaza site by road is a load of pious claptrap. Real regeneration is about bringing into use unused and derelict sites creating employment and new opportunity not closing down existing venues and leaving them empty for years on end.

ION CASTRO

Braybrooke Road

Clean hospital

FOLLOWING the Government's insistence that all NHS hospitals should have been deep cleaned in the fight to eradicate hospital acquired infections by March 31 2008, it has, this weekend, been announced that a huge percentage of hospitals will fail to meet the target.

However, it is encouraging to see that the Conquest Hospital is noticeably cleaner than some 17 months ago when my husband died of MRSA, whilst in their care.

C.Difficil is a killing infection that is dirt related. However, MRSA is most commonly humanly carried and therefore personal attention to cleanliness can never be taken lightly.

What concerns me is that 'proper' deep cleaning is both an expensive process and very disruptive to patients and staff alike. So how will the cleaning standards be maintained, bearing in mind that NHS Trusts have a limited budget for any cleaning!?

It is important that all visitors who enter the hospital be the "EYES" for the Trust and should any person have any doubt that certain areas are not acceptable as clean standards within a hospital they should bring it to the attention of a member of staff and insist that the matter is attended to immediately! Look up, look down, look under beds, look everywhere!

However, the carriage of MRSA is an issue that every person who enters the hospital becomes responsible for. YOU could be a carrier of the infection. Deep cleaning will fail to work once people re-enter the areas cleaned! Unless each person takes responsibility.

People do die from these infections and until it touches the lives of individuals, it might seem unimportant.

The MRSA Support Association conducted a laboratory experiment on a pair of patients slippers which had been in an area of deep cleaning. After six months the MRSA culture, had been grown on the dust taken from the slippers!!!!!

Complacency must not take over just because hospitals "look" cleaner.

MRS MARION HAM

Staplehurst

Kent

Able-bodied

Re: Disabled parking in Russell Street by Len Wright, Hastings Observer, March 28

AS a resident of Russell Street I feel compelled to express my views and congratulate the council on a fantastic decision that has taken a long time coming to the residents of Russell Street.

Under the old rules, the residents of Russell Street were unable to park within about a mile of our homes, so a petition was formed and after at least 18 months of fighting we have finally achieved our goal of fair parking for Russell Street.

With regards to Mr Wright's supposed persecution I would like to add that for the last four years it has been the residents of Russell Street whom have been persecuted by the so-called "disabled" who fill the the whole street with their cars without even a thought for the residents that they are stealing parking space from.

The council's decision has been based on the needs of the residents and not the disabled as they have obviously come to the conclusion that disabled parking is adequate to negate the requirement for them to park in Russell Street.

In regards to Mr Wright's letter, I am horrified to see him complaining of "restricted" parking in Russell Street when in my view he should have no facilities for parking in Russell Street, as there are currently no disabled permit holding residents living in Russell Street, and it is the residents who should be put first in any decisions that are made, regardless of the disabled residents of Hastings' supposed inability to use any of the town's other disabled parking spaces.

In response to Mr Wright's verbal abuse of Hastings "Yes folks, welcome to the town that puts able-bodied people first", I think that he should stop acting so selfishly, as able-bodied people are the majority and should be put first, and I am sick and tired of this political correctness that forces the residents of Russell Street and every other able-bodied person in Hastings to be inconvenienced and to be forced to bend over backwards for the frankly selfish minority like Mr Wright.

M. WALKER

Russell Street

Free bus pass

I AM writing in response to Mr Bowater's letter about bus fares.

I think the Government are very kind to give any pensioner, regardless of state, a totally free bus pass which covers the entire country. Yet some are still not happy with it!

Travelling anywhere after 9.30am-11pm every day (all day weekends) sounds great to me.

I use buses all the time and as many who are reading this know that the fares set in the Hastings area are expensive.

Yes it's true, the links up to the Conquest can be improved on which makes appointments difficult to work around, which is another discussion in itself.

Let's be grateful that the freebies are readily available unlike some of the less fortunate countries.

MARK ABBOTT

Old Church Road

CRY screening

FULL praise should be given to the Red Cross team who acted swiftly when Joe Tanner, aged 26, collapsed with a cardiac arrest following the recent Hastings Half Marathon.

Every week in the UK an estimated eight apparently fit and healthy young people, under the age of 35, die suddenly from undiagnosed heart conditions.

A charity called "CRY" was founded in May 1995 to raise awareness of Cardiac Risk in the Young.

The charity runs a screening programme in several large UK cities to perform ECG tests to screen for those who may be at a high risk of Sudden Death Syndrome.

An ECG (electrocardiogram) is a simple non invasive test which takes a few minutes to perform.

As well as general screening of younger people for abnormalities an ECG can also detect potential problems in older people which, if not detected, may lead to heart attacks.

Vital Signs in Hastings is now able to offer an ECG service as well as other preventative health checks in order that the Hastings Half Marathon continues to be a happy and healthy local event.

SHIRLEY LEARTHART

Wellington Square Natural Health Centre

MPs' digs

I WISH to take issue with Glenn Veness apropos his letter 'MPs' homes', specifically the suggestion of using the Millennium Dome for the purpose: Mr Veness has neglected to consider a much more suitable premises where our Lords and Masters can set up their London pieds-a-terre.

It is closer to the House so they'll be able to walk to work (carbon footprints, and all that!), and there would be no conversion costs to the taxpayer (all rooms therein being ready for occupation, and luxuriously furnished to a standard befitting of those who are deluded by their own importance).

'So where is this splendid dwelling?' I hear your readers cry; well, 'tis at one end of The Mall, and benefits (as estate agents say) from an in-and-out driveway and a nice back garden - Hey, She's not even there for most of the time (note my respectful capital 'S').

Where's Gordon?

BRIAN WHITE

Upper Maze Hill

St Leonards

Soco show

I WOULD just like to thank Eileen Blake for her letter last week praising the recent Soco exhibition at the Art Forum galleries. It is always good to get positive feedback.

Soco is planning to continue exhibiting in various venues throughout the town this year, as well as holding seminars and workshops covering a broad spectrum of the visual arts.

LESLEY CORNISH

Chair Soco

The Croft

War memorial

I would like to thank Mr and Mrs Pelling and their team of helpers for raising such a wonderful amount of money again on Saturday with their tombola and display about the war memorial.

They raised over 700 again. This is wonderful and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their commitment to my charity, the restoration of the war memorial.

Cllr Maureen Charlesworth

Hastings Mayor

Why so early?

WITH the summer season approaching and many visitors expected to visit Hastings, why does the council close the Rock-a-Nore car park at 10pm?

A visit to the cinema or restaurant is seriously curtailed by this crazy time scale - even Cinderella had until midnight before her coach turned into a pumpkin!

PATRICIA STEPHENSON

Whittlewood Close

Gurkha support

IF the BNP are so racist how come they fully support the Gurkhas' cause of full pension rights and the right to live permanently in this country?

CARL HIGGS

Tenterden Rise