Fury over plan to take hour’s sunshine away

EASTBOURNE could be out of time with the rest of the country if neighbouring coastal resorts get their way in a British Summer Time battle.

Since being crowned the UK’s sunniest town, other seaside venues have struggled to attract sun-seekers who have been lured to Eastbourne to make the most of the rays without going abroad.

But now tourism bosses from the UK Coastal Tourism Promotion Group group – which includes Brighton, Hastings, Bournemouth, Scarborough and Skegness – have teamed up to petition Parliament to keep Eastbourne on Greenwich Mean Time throughout the summer months.

This would mean the town would not move its clocks forward one hour in the spring – and give Eastbourne one less hour of evening sunshine each day from March to October compared to the rest of the country.

Sunbathers would have to pack up from the beach one hour earlier, attractions on the prom would have to shut earlier than the rest of the country and premier Eastbourne events, such as Airbourne and the AEGON tennis, would have to draw to a close earlier than planned.

Tourism bosses across the UK believe this would give them a fair fight in the struggle to attract sun-worshippers and keep their resorts thriving in the difficult economic climate.

A spokesman from Greenwich Royal Observatory said that although the UK was used to the whole country being in the same time zone, other countries, including the USA and Russia , manage to operate successfully across different time zones.

“In some American states towns are split in half, with one side observing Central Standard Time while the other side observes Mountain Standard Time – this could mean someone getting to work an hour before they left home,” he added.

“I’m sure Eastbourne residents would soon get used to the change.”

Eastbourne council chiefs are furious and say keeping the town on GMT throughout the summer would confuse holidaymakers and ruin the resort’s sunny appeal.

A spokesman said, “We will fight tooth and nail to make sure Eastbourne continues to observe British Summer Time.

“Eastbourne is the sunniest town in the UK - and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”

n A meeting was due to be held this morning (Friday) with an announcement expected at noon.

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