The town’s Labour run council is coming under sustained attack from its political enemies over its handling of how to deal with the relaxation of lockdown.
Earlier this week MP Sally-Ann hart blasted the council as ‘negligent’ for its reluctance to follow government guidelines over the reopening of, for example, public toilets.
Now Councillor Rob Lee, leader of Hastings Borough Council’s (HBC) opposition Conservative groups says: “The Labour administration has failed in it’s duty to run the town effectively during lockdown and is causing further damage as the lockdown eases.
“As the rest of the country is busy opening up facilities and helping businesses open their doors, Hastings has failed to do so. It has taken an age to open up even a few of the toilets in the borough and many remain closed with seemingly no date for them to reopen.”
Mr Lee is sceptical of the council leadership and its handling of the crisis and the early recovery period: “Many other seaside towns have taken the government’s advice from last month and opened up recreational facilities such as tennis courts and importantly toilets for the residents to use, but not here. Hastings has also been slow to approve the discretionary grant scheme, which other towns had up and running weeks ago causing distress to small business owners and the local economy as a whole. Frankly, the whole situation has been bungled by the Labour leadership in the Town Hall.”
HBC has recently been approved for a grant of £80,000 from central government to help initiate the reopening of the high street.
“The money from central government is most welcome but the question remains, can Labour be trusted locally to spend the money wisely? Their track record up to this point is not good,” says Mr Lee.
The council’s leader Councillor Kim Forward said on Friday: “As lockdown measures ease, protecting our residents is perhaps even more important than before and may be more challenging than ever. When they do go out (people) should continue to plan accordingly, follow social distancing, and act sensibly.”