Tourism bosses in Eastbourne are burying their heads in the sand and refusing to accept defeat in the battle to be crowned the UK’s sunniest spot.
As revealed in the Eastbourne Gazette this week weather aficionados at the Met Office have thrown their weight behind Shanklin’s bid to be named top dog of the sunshine league.
The Isle of Wight resort recorded a mammoth 2,018.7 hours of sunlight last year – meaning it can boast an extra two whole days of rays every 12 months than Eastbourne.
And in a further blow to morale, Hastings was adjudged to have leapfrogged Eastbourne into second place, with 2,010 hours compared to 1,962 here.
However, despite the evidence seeming to stack up in Shanklin’s favour, Eastbourne Borough Council is refusing to give up the title without a fight.
Reacting to Wednesday’s story a spokesman for the local authority reiterated the town’s long-term stance. “Eastbourne is undoubtedly the sunniest resort in the UK,” they said.
“Our sunshine hours have been judged alongside other destinations using exactly the same criteria and as a result Eastbourne was found to be top of the sunshine table by renowned meteorologist Philip Eden in 2011.
“Not only are we the sunniest place, but in 2011 we were named as having the sunniest street in Britain too following research by solar energy experts HomeSun, with Burton Road averaging 43 per cent more than the UK average.
“The evidence shows we are indeed the UK’s top sunspot and with news this week that we broke our own sunshine records in March, our reign of sunshine can only continue throughout 2012.”
The defiance is unlikely to impress Shanklin, which believes it has lost out on years of bumper pay days as a result of Eastbourne’s apparent theft of its position at the top of the sunshine charts.
John Flemming, a councillor on the island, said locals had been “disgusted” by Eastbourne’s attitude. He added, “It is unbelievable when you consider the potential loss in revenue for Shanklin.
“The island could have lost millions because of this.”
The ambiguity over the rightful hotspot has become an annual problem since the Met Office stopped publishing its own, official league table back in 2007.
Since then towns have been trusted to submit their own readings, leading to accusations from rivals that some resorts, include Eastbourne, massage their stats by taking readings from areas likely to be more sun-kissed than the average street.
The news that Shanklin had jumped to top spot came as Eastbourne fell foul of torrential rain throughout the recent bank holiday weekend, with some traders saying it was the worst weather they had experienced during the four-day break in decades.