Rail link proposal gets the thumbs down

A BUSINESSMAN’S proposal for a mini-rail link connecting the Old Town and West St Leonards has been turned down by the council.

Naz Uddin, who runs the Bengal Curry House, in Marine Court, presented a 432-name petition to Hastings Borough Council suggesting the link.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Uddin at the cabinet meeting on Monday (June 11), Richard Stevens said: “Lying behind this petition is a desire to sea a sustainable transport link.

“It is to our shame that we do not have a continuous service along the 2.5miles of the sea front.”

However the recommendation from council officers was that this scheme would be unworkable, both financially and practically, not least because the current operator of the mini-rail has no interest in extending the line to West St Leonards.

Councillors did agree that it was important to pursue improved transport links along the sea front, and to work together with East Sussex County Council to this end.

It was resolved that progress would be reported back to the cabinet in six months time.

Alternatives discussed at the meeting included an open top bus service, and a dotto train (a small train running on wheels) such as the one which runs along the promenade in Eastbourne during Summer months.

Lead member for regeneration councillor Peter Chowney said: “I think what we would want to aim at is a cross between a tourist transport system, but that is also a serious transport system that would be used out of season as well.”

Councillor Peter Finch expressed his concern that not enough research had been carried out into the possibility of a dotto train.

“For some years, I have been very keen to see something like this introduced,” he said. Adding that it would create employment opportunities as well as a tourist attraction.