Controversial shelters on a new postage stamp set

new shelter on bexhill seafront ENGSNL00120110428122535
new shelter on bexhill seafront ENGSNL00120110428122535

One of Bexhill’s controversial seafront shelters will be featured on a new set of postage stamps next month.

The series of Seaside Architecture stamps puts the spotlight on six acclaimed national landmarks such as Eastbourne’s famous bandstand, Southwold’s Lighthouse and Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach, and representing Bexhill is one of the Next Wave wooden seafront structures.

Seafront shelter, Bexhill. SUS-140813-143626001

Seafront shelter, Bexhill. SUS-140813-143626001

This is a Royal Mail celebration of British seaside towns.

The stamps will be in use from September 18 and the cost of the Bexhill stamp is a not inconsiderable £1.28.

Royal Mail had no comment for the Bexhill Observer ahead of the release but local residents had plenty to say.

Michael Crotty of Shepherds Close asks why the shelter is featured rather than that iconic slab of modernist elegance, the De La Warr Pavilion.

He said: “I admit I’m not a particular fan of the DLWP but whoever it was that pushed it to one side must have a serious grudge against Bexhill when they chose an anglo saxon cattle shed as its replacement...Luckily, at £1.28, not a great number of the population will see it.

He added: “Spike Milligan once said “Bexhill was God’s waiting room”, surely we didn’t have to show one!”

Bexhill resident Ron Storkey, who publicly expressed much concern about the design, was also surprised, and said: “Of all the things to depict Bexhill, why on earth pick this? Bexhill is a beautiful place...That does not apply to these shelters.”

It has been estimated that each cost more than £70,000 and they’ve been the source of much heated debate from the start with hundreds of residents attending a rally outside the town hall in protest.

That event was organised by campaigner Jackie Bialeska of Vox Pop who claimed that 85 percent of locals who took part in RDC’s consultation were opposed to the new design. She said at the time she wanted to show Rother District Council that people were “angry.”

Jackie commented of the stamp: “This is totally untypical of Bexhill. Of all the features we have got they chose that rubbish to grace their stamp.”

The design was chosen following a national architecture competition and always caused strong reaction from those who felt they would never be fit for purpose, namely that of protecting seafront visitors from the onslaught of the elements - wind, rain or fierce sunshine. They were launched in Spring 2011 but less than two years later needed work and were fenced off for repairs to deteriorating materials.

Rother District Council always said however the shelters would make the town more attractive to visitors and there is evidence to support that - one of the shelters is for instance featured on the cover of Keane’s latest album Strangeland. A RDC spokesman said: “Anything that raises the profile of Bexhill and Rother is a good thing.”