Meeting chaired by Dr. Deborah Madden (Chair, H & St. L Society)
Item 1. Welcome from the Chair. Apologies for absence noted.
Item 2. Julia Hilton on the proposed application for UNESCO World Heritage Site Status for Hastings and St. Leonards.
Julia stressed that although this proposal has come from the Green Party, if it is to progress it must be as a cross-party project. It was agreed that H & St. L Society will organise an Open Meeting dedicated to the UNESCO proposal for September. Organisations and individuals in the Borough with knowledge of local heritage will be invited to the meeting so that an indication of support for the proposal can be determined, ideas put forward and expertise in such matters sourced.
H & St L Society will endeavour to set a date for the meeting, which will be held at the University campus, and circulate to relevant persons / organisations. Our MP, Amber Rudd, has expressed an interest in attending H & St. L Society Open Meetings, and it is hoped she will be able to attend the September meeting. Those attending the meeting will be requested to read the details of the proposal outlined by Julia and Chris Saunders, which will be circulated and posted on our website, in preparation for the meeting.
Item 3. Discussion of trading at Queen’s Road.
Barbaros of the Cafe Grand Rue de Pera on Queen’s Road attended the meeting to highlight the traders’ plight in attracting customers. He mentioned that the traders have felt neglected by the Business Improvement District scheme so far. Traders have taken a big gamble in setting up businesses along Queen’s Road. He feels more needs to be done to encourage customers along Queen’s Road; BID seems to be focussing on the main town centre area westwards along Robertson Street.
In the discussion it was agreed that it has always been difficult to get shoppers to go along Queen’s Road, as Marks & Spencers seems to be a cut off point for the town’s shopping area. There is also the problem of traffic noise and pollution on this busy road, and parking limited to Morrison’s car park, where a maximum stay time is enforced. It was suggested that a one-day ‘Queen’s Road Festival’ may serve to promote interest in the area, but there is the problem of a required road closure. It was also suggested that a local ‘Traders’ Association’ may be fruitful, especially in negotiating with BID. The High Street Traders’ group in the Old Town has been successful in promoting business in that area.
Item 4. Discussion on the future of the ‘Harold and Edith’ statue (lead: Christopher Maxwell-Stewart)
Ian Jarman gave a presentation on his campaign to have some covering put over the statue in West Marina Gardens at the last Open Meeting. C M-S argues that this is not going to preserve the statue from the weather and would also cause other problems such as vandalism. C M-S does agree that the statue is an important local heritage asset and as such it needs moving to somewhere indoors in order to prevent further decay – some other ‘decoration’ could be sourced for West Marina Gardens.
Steven (secretary, H & St. L Society) reminded the meeting that consultations were carried out three or four years ago into the future of the statue, when West Marina Gardens was being recorded by Sussex Gardens Trust. Options were to provide some shelter for the statue in the Gardens, have the statue moved indoors (Battle Abbey was suggested, but negative response to tentative approach), or leave the statue to see out its years where it is. Consensus then was that the statue is in poor condition but it is a welcome feature in the Gardens and should simply be left there. Virginia (West Marina Partnership) added that this remains the opinion of local residents.
In agreement with Ian Jarman, C M-S considers the statue to be significant as a reminder of the life of Edith ‘Swan-neck’. However, the statue does not depict a factual scene, and Steven suggested that if the life of Edith needs promoting then this is a separate topic and not relevant to the conservation of the statue. The statue is simply a work of art depicting an imaginary scene.
Burtons’ St. L Society is holding a meeting about the statue in October.