On January 26th there was a meeting between Amber Rudd and all interested parties concerning the extended closure of Hastings pier. At the meeting, pier owner Mr Abid Gulzar’s team, after being challenged about the dearth of public information regarding their plans, promised to post notices on the pier’s gates, including assurances that the ceremonial plaques of loved ones are accessible to residents.

Their considered response was to leave a hastily hand-scrawled note inside the gate in what looked suspiciously like Mr Gulzar’s handwriting,  the cost of a printed one presumably having been deemed an unnecessary expense. The chasm between the owner’s claims and reality grows ever closer to Grand Canyon proportions.

Those who remember the bitter controversy surrounding the arrival of the Jerwood Gallery will recall a seething mass of conflicting opinions, like a mini-Brexit. Those for it and those who opposed it appeared deadlocked. Insults were hurled, posters brandished and fists pumped. Eventually, despite the opposition’s protests about the economic impact of the loss of a central coach park and claims that it would lead to gentrification of the old town, The Jerwood was built. By the time this newspaper goes to press, however, news will have broken regarding the not-for-profit organisation’s relationship with their sponsors The Jerwood Foundation, curators of The Jerwood Collection, a privately-owned stash of over 300 paintings. Strained relations between the two over the poor representation of the collection at the Hastings gallery would appear to be threatening its very existence under the Jerwood name. No doubt this development is causing a frisson of schadenfreude amongst its original detractors, some of whom will be jumping for joy on its figurative grave and calling for the return of the coach park. The question remains though, having lost its raison d’etre, what will actually become of it? Come on Hastings Council and The Foreshore Trust! Hastings still has only one McDonald’s!

Perhaps man for all seasons, crime scene investigator and award-winning funeral photographer Lord (sic) Brett McLean ought to be hired in as a consultant, before things get totally out of hand. We wait with baited breath. 

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