Big screen plan for Olympics

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A GIANT screen will show live Olympic events in Princes Park throughout next year’s Games as Eastbourne attempts to cash in on the fast-approaching sporting extravaganza.

The Herald exclusively revealed earlier this year that the Olympic Torch will visit the town on July 17 next year.

It has emerged that Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) plans to transform the local park into a live viewing zone from July 27 until August 12.

As well as the giant screen there are plans to add a bar and food stalls to encourage locals to come together to watch the British athletes compete against the world’s best.

There are still hopes that the Devonshire Park Tennis Centre could be used as a base for one of the visiting national squads, although time is running out to secure a deal with most countries already signed up with venues.

EBC’s head of economic development, Penny Shearer, said a number of Olympic teams had shown an interest in setting up shop here in Eastbourne but that ‘nothing concrete’ had been finalised.

The council’s business expert met with representatives of more than two dozen local firms this week to discuss how best the town can make money out of London 2012 – urging them not to miss out on what she described as the chance of a lifetime.

With the flame coming through Eastbourne, EBC says it is determined to mark the occasion with a host of events which it hopes will be enthusiastically backed by local firms.

The authority has the chance to bid for a £20,000 grant to spend on decorating the town and Mrs Shearer challenged businesses to show their commitment.

“We have put our money where our mouth is,” she said, “so it is important local businesses do the same.

“We really want the town to look good for this day.”

The exact route the torch will not be revealed until a fortnight before the visit.