I READ a recent editorial of yours which appeared to support the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, and claimed extraordinary visitor numbers to the gallery of 65,000 in a year.
That is 1,250 a week or 178 a day. Are these audited figures, and if so, who autited them? I pass the Jerwood several times a day, and most of the time it seems to be locked and barred and definately closed. When it is open, there seem to be very few visitors willing to pay for the priviledge of viewing obscure artworks by some obscure artist. I suggest 6,500 visitors a year might be a more accurate figure.
Which begs the question, ‘what is it doing there?’ It has displaced coaches which probably did bring in excess of 65,000 revenue bearing visitors a year to the town. Even if each bused-in visitor only purchased a bag of chips, they would contribute more to the economy of the town than the Jerwood which pays no rates, employs virtually no staff, and contributes nothing to the local economy.
Meanwhile, the streets are patrolled by a squad of ever-vigilant parking regulation enforcers who enthusiastically do their best to drive away visitors thus creating ever more ‘retail opportunities’ - that’s empty shops to you and me. These ‘retail opportunities’ of course pay no rates and employ no one. What does Hastings Borough Council, architect of both the Jerwood and parking policy have to say about it?