Mini-rail plan set to be refused

A BID to create a mini-rail link along the seafront linking Old Town with West St Leonards looks set to be shunted into the sidings.

Local businessman Naz Uddin presented a 432 name petition to the borough council suggesting the link.

Mr Uddin, who runs the Bengal Curry House in Marine Court, said the link was needed to try and drum up interest and vistors to the St Leonards area.

In a statement to the cabinet committee, which meets today (Monday), Mr Uddin, said: “Business in this part of St Leonards is particularly poor with most businesses suffering from the economic climate.

“Such a link in transport would benefit both traders and the general population.

“A positive repsonse from yourself would be most welcome.”

The petition cited eight key reasons for the link:

(1) Benefits to local people and tourists

(2) Links between art communities of Hastings and St Leonards

(3) Reduction of traffic congestion on A259

(4) Benefits to local businesses

(5) More access to St Leonards Gardens

(6) Improve access to the Azur development and surrounding area

(7) Link to the planned Lido with Old Town and Jerwood would be beneficial

A report to the cabinet states that after discussions with Mr Uddin, the extension to the exitings Hastings Miniature Railway was deened to be not practical for economic and physical reasons.

Major infrastructure works would be required including signalling systems which were likely “to be extremely expensive.”

And the current operator of Hastings Miniature Railway has no interest in extending the line to West St Leonards.

A small extension from Marine Parade to Pelham Place is being investigated by council officers.

Representatives from Stagecoach stated in a recent Quality Bus Partnership meeting with the borough council and county council, that a similar system to Scarborough was needed. Passengers pay around £1 and hop on and off at various attractions.

A report by planning officer Tim Cookson recommends the plans are turned down for economic and practical reasons.

However it also states that the possibility of an open top bus service will be investigated.