New horizon for Hastings seafront

Published on by Tom Howard (author)

Bottle Alley (photo: Tom Howard)
Bottle Alley

Hastings Borough Council has decided to spend thousands on the renovation of one of the town's most famous features.

Councillors at Monday night's cabinet meeting unanimously agreed they should spend more than £160,000 repairing and restoring the 80-year-old Bottle Alley. 

Cllr. Jeremy Birch, Leader of Hastings Borough Council, was pleased that his fellow councillors backed the plans and passed the motion.

"If our seafront looks lively, active, busy and looks in good condition and the 'shop window' looks good," Cllr. Birch said, "We hope that we'll create a more prosperous town with fuller employment and better quality jobs at the same time."

The glass bottle walls of the alley

The glass bottle walls of the alley

The council has been pressured into making this decision by a local petition, set up by the Bottle Alley Restoration Group, after 750 people put their names to the campaign to clean-up the area.

André Palfrey-Martin, a spokesperson for the group, said he was  pleased with the outcome and believes everyone stands to benefit from Bottle Alley's regeneration.

"It's important for Hastings and St Leonards, it's important for residents, it's important for the visitors. It's also important for the young people who are going to be the next generation."

The unique walkway was designed and constructed back in the 1930s by Sidney Little, a Borough engineer who also designed other local features such as the underground car park on the seafront.

Made up of millions of pieces of broken glass pressed into the concrete walls, Bottle Alley was built as part of the town's desire to modernise the seafront, as well as providing a better link for pedestrians between White Rock and St Leonards.

Bottle Alley Damage

Bottle Alley Damage

The area has earned itself a poor reputation in recent years, with the run-down, poorly-lit alley becoming a hot bed for street drinkers and crime - meaning that very few now make use of it, particularly at night time.

The council and the campaigners alike hope that the restoration will help to improve the alley's reputation, which in turn will lead to more people making use of a local landmark that's also a piece of the town's history.


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