THE Arndale Centre will get a £70million extension after councillors approved the ambitious plans.
An extra 22 shops, 15,000 square metres of retail space, two new levels of car parking with 370 extra spaces and main entrance opposite the railway station received will be added to the existing mall – with work expected to start within the next two years.
The first stage of the development will be wholesale demolition of the buildings currently on the site.
This means a row of shops on Terminus Road, starting from the newsagents next door to Specsavers and ending with The Gildredge pub, will be knocked down.
In their place will emerge two-storey, glass-fronted units which the architects say will prove better suited to modern high street retailers.
An internal street will run behind these shops linking up that end of Terminus Road with the existing Arndale Centre through what is currently HMV and Next.
The old mall will also get a costly face-lift, with new toilets and more modern entrances in an effort to make the join of the two sites as seamless as possible.
And a host of bus stops currently on Terminus Road will be shifted further towards Bankers Corner and Cornfield Road to ease the congestion on the stretch known as Diesel Alley.
Councillors green ticked the proposals at a recent planning committee meeting and were delighted with the developers’ claims that the revamp would create the equivalent of 650 new full-time jobs.
And the decision was met with a largely positive response from Herald readers – even if many said the success or not of the scheme would depend on which stores moved in.
Commenting on www.eastbourneherald.co.uk, reader Elstreemedia said, “Good news. Design looks clean and modern but all depends who is in it.”
Fellow poster harbour1 added, “By the looks of it the extension was built with ‘fast fashion’ shops in mind ‘2 floors and tall display windows’ similar to Westfield etc. I was also hoping for an H&M but I am not sure the new units are quite big enough for them.”
However, not everyone was as over the moon. Herald reader PC said, “I see the whole idea as ill-conceived and unnecessary. As much as I would love to see the town thrive I can see nothing different here, which would be needed to attract more shoppers to the town, just more of the same, and the existing stores struggle enough as it is.
“The travel infrastructure is not geared to bring a mass of new people into the town centre in any event, nor does the town offer anything attractive which would bolt onto the shopping experience to entice people to spend the day here.”
r What do you think of the plans? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the debate online at our website.