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St Leonards pirate street drinker

St Leonards pirate street drinker

Hastings City of Culture’s rum deal

A proposal to rebrand street drinkers in Hastings and St Leonards as pirates is just one of the ideas being put forward as part of the town’s bid to become the UK’s City of Culture for 2017 writes HOT’s John Diamond-White.

The idea would see street drinkers issued with bandanas, eye patches, striped T-shirts, stuffed parrots and other pirate paraphernalia in an effort to gentrify the town, where street drinking has reached epidemic proportions. Plastic hooks and cutlasses may also be made available, subject to health and safety risk assessments by Town Hall staff.

Silver tankards would replace beer cans in the scheme which could be eligible for arts funding as Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill compete against 10 other towns and cities across the UK for the title of City of Culture. Street drinkers may also be required to attend sea shanty singing classes or risk losing some of their benefits.

According to the proposal, currently in the consultation phase, the boozy pirates “would reflect and celebrate the town’s rich history of smuggling and other anti-social behaviour from days gone by, engaging with and entertaining visitors at key destination points in Hastings during 2017.”

But concerned resident Franciscus Harends of St Leonards, one of the 14,231 people who took part in the world’s biggest gathering of pirates in Hastings last summer slammed the concept. “It’s an absolutely terrible idea,” he says. “Street drinking is a big problem in St Leonards where we probably have 20 or more drinkers on the streets on a daily basis,  but we need to look at why it’s happening and how we can resolve the problem, not turn it into a fancy dress party.”

Speaking about the overall bid for City of Culture, leader of Hastings Council Jeremy Birch has said, “We are in the premier league of cultural destinations… we’re in with the big boys in the national cultural scene.” He has also said that the bid would be “taking culture into the communities, onto the doorsteps. So you leave behind amongst ordinary people a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of culture in their lives.”

The consultation closes on 5 April. All 11 towns have until 30 April 2013 to submit their initial bids to an independent advisory panel who will decide on a shortlist to be announced in June 2013.

If you’d like to comment on this proposal, email by midnight on Monday April 1st.

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Posted 23:04 Sunday, Mar 31, 2013 In: One Long Party


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Martin Heneke

    Love it, bring on the pirate’s! !!!! Great April fool!

    Comment by Martin Heneke — Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 @ 13:47

  2. sharon

    Me thinks this is an April fools day- altho it’s certainly an interesting idea! Well done !

    Comment by sharon — Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 @ 22:31

  3. James H

    K.R. Cains, you just got trolled by the Hastings Online Times.. Bring on the bandanas!

    Comment by James H — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 19:35

  4. Lorna Lloyd

    Good ‘un

    Comment by Lorna Lloyd — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 19:19

  5. Liam

    Well done – Happy April’s fooooooL

    Comment by Liam — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 18:04

  6. Cllr Nigel Sinden.

    Well Done HOT… and today is ?

    Comment by Cllr Nigel Sinden. — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 16:47

  7. Laila Hesse

    Is this an April fool’s day prank? 🙂

    Comment by Laila Hesse — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 16:11

  8. JJ Waller

    They did this in Brighton some years ago, it was very successful, but the downside was cutlass prices went through the roof and nobody could afford to live there anymore .

    Comment by JJ Waller — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 10:16

  9. K.R. CAINS

    This is the worst and most hairbrained proposal I have heard in a long while. Why not fill their tankards every day (that is if they haven’t sold them off in the first hour)and why not give them a voucher for a free fill at evey pub in the area for good measure. Then give them a CD player so they can sing along with all the shanty songs you can find. (You might have to replace these on a daily basis too because they will forget where they have left them or who they sold them too) The drunks and drugies need removing from the streets not encouraged to multipy like rats. What a “Hairbrained Idea” indead.
    K R Cains (Ex working and home owner/resident of St Leonards.)

    Comment by K.R. CAINS — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 09:30

  10. Sally Walton

    YO HO HO & a bottle of rum

    Comment by Sally Walton — Monday, Apr 1, 2013 @ 09:08

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