Observer Comment: Pier fire... an attack on the entire town

THERE is bound to be anger locally following the news that the two teenagers suspected of starting the fire which ripped through Hastings Pier will not face any charges.

For a community left so devastated by the blaze it was vital justice was seen to be done.

The fire was not just an arson attack.

It was an attack on the entire town and the identity of Hastings.

The police may not be admitting it, but there is bound to be frustration on their part.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had evidence both teenagers were on the pier when the fire started and that the fire had been started ‘by a human act’.

However, it seems it was impossible to establish which – if any – of the two was responsible.

Nobody is saying these two St Leonards men started the fire. Chances are we will never know.

And the CPS should definitely not be prosecuting suspects in order to satisfy the hunger for justice of the local community.

But it now seems that nobody will ever face trial for the arson. And that, after months of waiting, will be difficult to stomach for most Hastingers.


TAKING good care of the elderly is one of the most important duties for any civilised society.

Nursing homes play a magnificent role looking after our older residents and there are many excellent homes where our senior citizens are given a new lease of life thanks to the wonderful work of the staff.

Good care homes probably don’t get the enormous credit they should – but bad ones deserve to be highlighted.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on the Lauriston Christian Nursing Home in St Leonards raises a raft of concerns that needed to be made public.

The home was found wanting on 13 different measures and these were no bureaucratic boxes they had failed to tick – they were integral issues around safety, food and medicine.

Southern Cross Healthcare, the company which runs Lauriston, says things have improved since January and that is to be commended.

The inspectors will keep us up-to-date on Lauriston’s progress, because it is important to remember that behind the official Government language and the statistics, these are our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents.

They deserve the very best, and any home failing to live up to the exacting standards we demand must shape up, or close down.


HERE comes the sun. Weather girls are predicting record-breaking Easter heat this weekend and thousands will flock to the coast to enjoy the sun and sea.

It will be a bumper few days for local traders and a reminder to everyone who lives here just how lucky we all are to live in such a beautiful part of the country.

On weekends like this, you really cannot beat Sussex-by-the-Sea.

Just don’t forget your sunscreen.