KEITH Leech, a well respected person in the community and keen supporter of the Old Town, in the Observer (June 27), stated his concerns that the council is determined to kill off the Old Town.
This is certainly true when we consider the fishing community.
Their struggle with officialdom commenced in the mid-1890s when the then council put forward the idea of a new road through the Old Town.
This would have required the demolition of some of the more dilapidated houses.
This plan came to nothing, but the idea of removing some housing was resurrected in 1923.
This went ahead and the families rehoused in Hardwicke Road. This would probably have included many fishing families.
Further similar actions took place, including the removal of almost half the space occupied by the fishermen’s net huts in the late 1920s to widen Rock-a-Nore Road.
Then, in 1963, came The Bourne road, cutting the Old Town in half.
This was performed using the excuse again of removing unhealthy and dilapidated housing as well as providing a route out of Hastings for through traffic.
There have been a number of actions by the fishermen against council plans over the years to stop what they (the fishermen) see as attempts by successive councils to remove them entirely from The Stade and use the area for tourist facilities.
The council, of course, will deny it had any such plans.
I recall a statement from it saying that it sees the fishing community as a valuable tourist attraction.
As Mr Leech states, parking is being made increasingly difficult and expensive in the Old Town. How is this supposed to attract tourists to this area?
I have a recollection from a couple of years ago of a complaint from the fishermen that crime on The Stade is ignored by the police and the council in the hope that it will force them (the fishermen) to give up their trade in the face of mounting insurance and repair costs.
Add to this, of course, increasing interference from our masters in Brussels regarding fishing quotas.
With the fishing boats gone, this would, of course, leave the area open for the creation of tourist facilities, would it not?
Overall, it does appear that Mr Leech is correct. The council does not like the Old Town. At least, not as it stands at the present time.