A petition calling for the restoration and reopening of four long-term empty and derelict shops under the historic Marina Colonnade in St Leonards has attracted more than 300 signatures.
Marine Court business owner Clive Gross, says the petition calls for Hastings Borough Council (HBC) to use its powers with owners of empty retail units between 36 and 40a Marina to repair upgrade and restore the shop fronts and interiors and make them available for rental or sale to new commercial tenants to help regenerate the Marine Quarter parade – or consider compulsory purchase. The empty units are within the James Burton designed Marina Colonnade - part of the Burton St Leonards conservation area, adjacent to the landmark Art Deco block Marine Court.
Mr Gross said: “The retail shopping area of Marine Court and Marina Colonnade has been blighted for years by freeholders who appear to have no interest in their premises or the area. This has a negative effect on other businesses occupying this stretch of St Leonards seafront and preventing new businesses from moving into the area. How can we encourage visitors to Burton St Leonards when they are greeted by a row of derelict shops?”
HBC leader Jeremy Birch said the council has been working to improve the premises. He said: “The council served an enforcement notice on October 24, 2012. It required a comprehensive package of measures to be undertaken to improve the poor visual condition of the building. The back of the building has been completed and work is under way on the upper levels at the front but not yet other shops. There are limits on the ability of a local authority to hurry work along when its in fact under way. We would be happy for council officers to meet with Mr Gross to explain what we have done so far.”
The petition is online at: http://epetition.eastsussex.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/2915.