AMBITIOUS plans for a £70 million extension to Eastbourne’s Arndale Centre are back on track and will go ahead.
Doubt had surrounded the regeneration programme for the town centre after a row between developers and Eastbourne Borough Council when the authority agreed to a new improved shopping centre going ahead at Sovereign Harbour.
L&G threatened to pull out of the deal after the rival out of town scheme at the Harbour was given the green light.
But this week the owners of the Arndale Centre re-affirmed their commitment to the much-needed facelift for the Arndale Centre.
In a joint statement with Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd released on Wednesday, Performance Retail Limited Partnership (PRLP), a joint venture between Legal & General and Strathclyde Pension Fund, said it had carried out a review of its proposals to extend the shopping centre in light of the decision of the planning committee of Eastbourne Borough Council to allow further out of centre fashion retailing.
The review has now been completed and PRLP said it remained “fully committed” to taking forward the preparatory work to extend the scheme. The proposed extension aims to significantly improve shopping facilities in Eastbourne’s town centre, attracting new retailers and investment, and in turn facilitating its wider regeneration.
Simon Russian of Legal & General Property said, “While we remain concerned about fashion retailers locating in out of town parks, we want to reassure the residents of Eastbourne that we are still fully committed to taking the scheme forward, subject to positive interest from fashion retailers who want a presence in the town centre.
“We would like to thank Stephen Lloyd MP for his continued encouragement and support as well as local interest groups and residents who wish to see an enhanced mix of shopping and leisure activities in Eastbourne’s town centre.”
Welcoming the announcement, Stephen Lloyd said, “When I met Simon Russian and Andrew Rice in Parliament after the recent challenges, my absolute priority was to get the whole process back on course. We discussed how to keep the project moving forward positively for both Eastbourne and Legal & General and I was genuinely impressed at their commitment to our town.
“There cannot be many towns of our size, if any, across the whole of the United Kingdom in the current challenging economic environment, that are receiving such a substantial sum of money for a town centre regeneration.
“This extension of the Arndale Centre by PRLP represents a tremendous mark of confidence in Eastbourne’s long term future and I am delighted we are back on track.”