John Biggs: Regeneration is an act of will

By Jon Massey on August 27, 2014 2:57 PM |



By John Biggs

This summer I had two short holidays. The first was in the Canary Islands. The second in Sussex. What a contrast.

I like the warm weather overseas, although it's a pain getting there. And I love popping down to the South Coast, but the weather is unreliable.

It rained so hard on the bank holiday we were stuck indoors wondering what to do.

And so, instead of the beach we went to Hastings. It is an historic and fascinating place. But very run down.

Getting there is bad - the roads and trains are slow.

The industry has suffered - most obviously the fishing fleet, which has been massacred by overfishing or the EU, depending who you believe, and the holiday business too.

Why go to Sussex when you can go to Spain with cheap booze and better weather for the same price?

Places like Hastings need to reinvent themselves. There are plans. High Speed Trains from London will go there in a few years.

The London road needs widening and this is taking an age. There is plenty happening but it is tough turning it around.

As we wander around Docklands it is worth reflecting that 30 or 40 years ago we were in a similar position - decline, lack of jobs and investment.

Leadership - by business, politicians, wild-eyed visionaries - is what made it happen.

It doesn't happen by accident. Fresh with energy, let us return to the job.

■ John Biggs is London Assembly Member for City and East