From: Dave Walsh, Rotherfield Avenue, Bexhill-on-Sea
I did like minimalism but Hastings needed something much more practical, integrated into the structure of a pioneering eco-university town by the sea especially as it now seems to be rapidly turning into ‘New Brighton’. I was laughed at for predicting this twenty years ago but “they are not laughing now” to quote the famous Bob Monkhouse joke. While on the subject of comedy, what did happen to all the money Brighton University [or was it the other one?”] received from the government for failing to set up shop in Hastings? Did they give it back-I doubt it!
Returning to the Pier [as not many people can] someone should have realised that many architects are really Fine Art Dreamers [like bass guitarists wanting to play lead]. Your council should study the latest RIBA winners who have built an amazing but modest [in style and approach] housing resource for Norwich in combination with a forward thinking and creative local Council. As I’ve said before, Hastings Pier should not have won a RIBA in the first place as it was not a building, or even a Pier-more like a gross area of decking, comparable to our expensive new Aircraft Carrier that also had nothing on it-until the first two aeroplanes arrived a few days ago. Grand ideas are all very well but they need to be thought through with a forward plan and a revenue stream. I recall one reader writing in to the Hastings Observer [somewhat indignant and aggressively berating the critics] and saying the emptiness and solitude of the “Pier” was it’s best feature and [effectively] and that she loved to find herself free to float along in solitude with the wind in her hair and the boards beneath her feet. All very DH Lawrence and idealistic perhaps but you have to find a way to finance your dreams sometimes and include others as well. Hastings now has every chance to create an original and creative ‘city by the sea’ focussed on modern work opportunities for young people eg IT but only by thinking somewhat differently, being a bit sharper and less disingenuous perhaps?