Rye Observer Comment: No flashy exhibitions now

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THE supermarkets rolled into town with their big PR roadshows, sharp suits and flashing smiles, like snake-oil salesmen from the Old West, full of promises on how they intended to make life better for local people.

What they have left us with is an unsightly slum with boarded up houses that have become a magnet for vandals and rodents – a far cry from the full colour boards at public exhibitions, setting out architect’s visions for the Ferry Road area.

Meanwhile it seems that everyone is being kept in the dark as to what is happening behind the scenes while Sainsbury’s and Tesco fight out their bare-knuckle brawl for the Lower School Site.

There are no flashy exhibitions now to keep local people informed as to what is happening.

Where now the public relations and local consultancy these big national giants put such value in? Ah yes – that was before planning permission was obtained.

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People will be shocked when they read our report of how the mental health team and social workers failed a Beckley family.

But they will not know how shocking it was to actually sit through an inquest and hear the procedural jargon, excuses and, quite frankly, evasive response of these health professionals.

All credit to Coroner Alan Craze who did an incredible job in bringing to light what happened, even if it was a struggle to get a straight answer at times.

How can these people, who are supposed to be professionals, completely fail to see the risk to a disturbed man who had a history of suicide attempts and only days earlier had attempted to take his own life?

How could they fail to properly question and consult with his wife who had been married to him for more than 40 years and who had grave concerns over his safety?

The sad thing is that despite how clear and obvious it was to the Coroner, the family and anyone else sitting in court, these blinkered people really did not seem to understand that they got it wrong and that their procedures are clearly flawed.

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BATTLE COMMENT: Battle businesses seem to be weathering the storm

RINGING tills were music to the ears of Battle’s traders this Christmas.

Whereas plenty of big name chain stores seem to have been falling like dominoes since the start of the year, Battle’s shops, many of which are independent, have reported solid Christmas sales.

This is in stark contrast to Hastings town centre, with Priory Meadow reporting poor Christmas sales and a number of big-name stores pulling out of the centre.

But despite the nation-wide doom and gloom, Battle businesses seem to be weathering the storm, with a number of new faces joining the town centre in 2011.

There may still be a bumpy ride ahead, but with the fantastic can-do attitude of the town’s traders and a pro-active chamber, the town centre seems well-prepared for whatever may lay ahead.

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Battle boys Keane are to return for a homecoming gig this spring.

Ok, so it’s not quite home, but Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion.

It’s a long time since Keane played in the Rother/Hastings area (their last appearance was in 2005) but they are sure to be welcomed with open arms.

In recent years music magazine Q hailed the De La Warr as an upcoming venue for live music and with the award-winning Keane taking to the stage, it certainly seems like a winning combination.

Just don’t leave it so long next time.