POPULAR seafront attraction Treasure Island is set to reopen after a new operator reached a deal with Eastbourne Borough Council to refurbish the venue.
TI Eastbourne Ltd will invest tens of thousands of pounds in the seafront adventure park to return the site to a family-focussed fun park.
The group has now reached a new agreement with the council to manage the attraction.
The original pool and sand pit, crazy golf and pirate ship will be renovated and will reopen in time for the 2012 summer season.
The amusement arcade will be removed from the indoor facility and replaced with a larger and completely refurbished play area and seated eating area, to open in spring this year together with the outdoor golf course.
Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt said, “Treasure Island has for decades been a hugely popular family attraction and so I am thrilled that it is being restored and reopened.
“Treasure Island is vitally important to the town’s seafront and Eastbourne’s wider tourism industry.
“It is therefore very encouraging that the new operators, TI Eastbourne, share our vision for the site as a family adventure park.
“This deal is one of several exciting plans for the town that will start to come to fruition in 2012, helping to maintain a sustainable local economy.”
TI Eastbourne is managed by three directors, Phil Lewin, Ben Porter and Barry White, all with many years’ experience in leisure projects in the UK and abroad.
The firm was set up as a private limited company in September last year.
Mr Lewin said, “Many generations remember Treasure Island as a fantastic children’s adventure fun park and we are committed to restoring this popular attraction to its former glory.
“We will be spending a substantial amount of money to reintroduce and refurbish the core elements of Treasure Island, and that in part means removing the arcade, and making it a stand alone fun park. We are delighted to be working with Eastbourne Borough Council on our plans.”
TI Eastbourne will also develop a new restaurant at Treasure Island which is due to open later in 2012.
The new operators plan to apply for a restaurant licence but are keen to stress to local residents they will not be applying for a full pub licence, which was refused by the council previously.
Treasure Island closed in February last year and was placed in the hands of administrators.
As part of the new deal, all outstanding sums of money owed to the council – believed to be around £73,000 – have been paid by the new company.
The deal was struck between TI Eastbourne Ltd and corporate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor after nine months of negotiations.
Begbies Traynor was appointed administrators to Coasta Ltd, the company that had been running Treasure Island, which went under amid a financial crisis.
A number of early expressions from interested parties failed to materialise as formal and acceptable offers until eventually the deal with TI Eastbourne Ltd was sealed.
The company has taken the lease for an undisclosed sum which includes the rent arrears paid to the council.
Jon Beard, a partner at Begbies Traynor, said, “We have worked hard with the council and various interested parties to enable the sale of the business and secure a new tenant for the park.
“Although the negotiations were long and somewhat tortuous we are pleased to have achieved what we regard as the best possible result for Eastbourne which ultimately means that this much-loved attraction should now be able to reopen.”