Posted 26 January 2016 by Andrew Gardner
Work is to begin this month on repairs to a historic seafront promenade in East Sussex.
Bottle Alley in Hastings, designed in the early 1930s by borough engineer Sidney Little, features panels of different coloured glass that was retrieved (nowadays we'd call it recycling) from the local tip by unemployed people (would they be described as 'volunteers' these days?) before being broken up and set into the pre-made concrete panels. Located on the lower deck of the two-tier promenade, it was built to provide an undercover walkway for people to use in bad weather but has become dilapidated in recent years - one of many seafront structures that retains a certain charm, and are still delightful to visit, even as they crumble. They have so much character and mean so much to so many people that any restoration must be very sympathetic to the originals.
Local campaigners who last year set up a petition to get Bottle Alley renovated had asked the council to clean the wall, put the lighting back to its previous level and create a community area. Hastings Borough Council has been given a £50,000 grant towards the cost of the work under the government's coastal revival fund and the renovation work, which was due to begin on 18 January, will include repairs to the concrete structure and new lighting.
The project was among 77 across England to receive funding, including Brighton's derelict seafront arches - a potential restoration project that's been a subject of discussion for many years, so it's probably time something was done, although many people still enjoy the seafront as it is.
Whenever a council announces that work is about to begin, a small part of me tends to remain cynical - but as long as they get going in time for the summer holiday season that's fine by me. For many of us, a self-catering holiday in Sussex isn't complete without a stroll along the seafront, whatever the time of year. Click here to view our selection of East and West Sussex properties.