LETTER: Wake up to the real world

I was appalled (but not entirely surprised) by Annemarie Field’s report in the Herald [December 4]. The story concerned an agreement by the owners of Ridgways Restaurant in Meads to sell their property to Chinese restaurateurs who presently run the Eastern Wok in Old Town. As part of their plans for the Meads property the Sheng family wished to install a new ventilation system. The Meads Residents Association did not object but three individual residents, named in the article, did. One wrote, “As far as I know takeaways are not allowed in Meads Street.” The Herald’s reporter pointed out that no permission for a takeaway had been sought.

Sleepers in this dormitory suburb of Eastbourne may be expected to resent anything which threatens their slumbers but the most repulsive aspect of the story concerned the people who wrote directly to the Sheng family to suggest that a Chinese restaurant would be unwelcome in Meads. In the same edition of the Herald stories and letters appeared relating to the pier and its new owner. Once again the xenophobic fringe of Eastbourne was on the warpath. As with the Sheng application, I doubt whether Sheikh Abid Gulzar, the new Muslim owner of the pier, could do anything to placate the objectors to his plans for the property he now owns. Over the years I have become accustomed to the latent racism of the lunatic fringe in Eastbourne and its environs. Correspondents to the Herald have been known to object to ‘foreign students’ taking up space on pavements. These young people (who help sustain a healthy sector of Eastbourne’s economy) bring goodwill and an open mind to the town. Would that some of Eastbourne’s inhabitants reciprocated those virtues.

Michael Kaye

Thornwell Road, Wilmington

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