Call to improve access path to Hastings Castle

CAMPAIGNING Lib Dems are demanding immediate action to improve the public access to Hastings Castle.

Nick Perry, the party’s parliamentary spokesman for Hastings, has written to the Cllr Jeremy Birch, council leader, accusing the authority of not doing enough to clear the area of fly-tipping and rubbish.

Mr Perry said: “It is no wonder that the council has failed to win funding for the castle site.

“The approach via the town centre is an absolute disgrace. This is a Grade I listed building associated with one of the most famous events in European history and it is poorly signposted and poorly cared for. There has been no meaningful enforcement on the grotty, fly-tipped private land by the main access route.”

Former Castle ward councillor Pam Brown said: “I am afraid to say that this is a problem that has resurfaced since I left the council in 2006.

“Officers have not been taken to task by ward councillors for letting this eyesore continue to fester.”

Cllr Birch said Hastings Borough Council (HBC) is currently working on submitting a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year to secure better access to the castle and enhance other facilities.

He said: “The new access will be from the Ladies’ Parlour where the funicular railway comes up. There have been discussions with local conservation groups that have been very supportive.

“We will be submitting the bid towards the end of this year. We all accept that visitor numbers to the castle could be increased so this is why we are making this bid to allow the access to become more inviting and accessible for the disabled.”

The council has commissioned architects Thomas Ford & Partners to draw up proposals and hopes the works will be complete by October 2016 to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

A bid for Heritage Lottery funding in 2011 was unsuccessful. The castle is owned by the council but since 2009 has been run by Spanish operators Aspro.