CONCERNS that the proposed harbour retail park development will lead to the ‘virtual death of Eastbourne town centre’ have been raised by the owner of an Arndale Centre cafe.
Colin Taylor, the owner of Shades, has written a letter to Eastbourne Borough Council objecting to the plans put forward by Prudential.
The company wants to give the Crumbles retail park a £14 million facelift and the plans have been well received by local residents and councillors.
However, Mr Taylor says he is concerned such an attractive offering at Sovereign Harbour will encourage shoppers to drive out of town and have a detrimental impact on the businesses in Eastbourne’s shopping heart.
This comes after the Herald reported an increasing number of empty shops in the Arndale with more set to close as they struggle in the current climate.
Mr Taylor said, “At the present time the town centre is suffering badly from the effects of the recession and the introduction of the town centre parking scheme had a massive detrimental effect on the town centre businesses.
“With the changes in town centre parking, people drive into town, put 20p in the parking meter, buy the lightbulb in Robert Dyas and then rush back to their car and drive off before incurring a penalty.
“This means the town centre is now a far less attractive place to shop than it used to be.”
Mr Taylor said he felt Sovereign Harbour already offered a wide range of shops and the ease of free parking made it an attractive option for shoppers.
He added, “I am concerned that if that area is allowed to continue to expand it will result in the virtual death of the town centre of Eastbourne.”