Resort aims to leave rival in the shade

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The Independent Online
THE seaside resort of Sandown on the Isle of Wight is to resite the meter that records its hours of sunshine each day in an attempt to catch up with its neighbour, Shanklin, writes Ian MacKinnon.

The precious hours of sunshine enjoyed by Britain's seaside resorts are jealously watched, and Sandown, convinced it spends more hours each year basking in the sun's rays than Shanklin, three miles away, has become sensitive over falling five minutes a day behind in the sunshine league tables.

So the town plans to move the meter which records the daily hours of sunshine from its present spot, on top of Sandown's library, to somewhere more prominent. While no one accuses Shanklin of skulduggery, even the town's deputy mayor admits its meter, on the roof of the town hall, sits on the highest building around. Shanklin holds the record, set in 1949, for the most hours of sunshine in a year in Britain - 2,263.1 hours.

Heather Humby, Sandown's town clerk, says the meter on top of the library at times goes into the shade as early as 3.30pm.

But the Meteorological Office at Bracknell, Berkshire, was sceptical: 'To make a difference you'd have to put it 200ft or 300ft higher.'