Centre designs come under fire

editorial image

PART of the proposed new Arndale Centre will look like the Twin Towers in New York after the terrorist attack.

That’s the claim of the Eastbourne Society, which has given a mixed welcome to the £70 million Arndale Centre redevelopment.

Plans for more shops and parking spaces as well as new shop fronts onto Terminus Road, are already with the Borough Council’s planning department and a decision is expected later this year.

While the Eastbourne Society has welcomed the plans and congratulated developers on imaginative proposals, there are aspects concerning members, especially the design of the building on the corner of Terminus Road and Ashford Road.

This would replace the Gildredge Pub, which along with other shops in that stretch of Terminus Road, will be knocked down to make way for the new-look centre.

Richard Crook, the society’s architectural adviser, said members strongly objected to the design of the building.

“This corner is directly opposite the Grade II Listed Railway Station building with its distinctive corner Clock Tower. We believe the building proposed would have a demeaning effect on the Railway Station building – an outstanding example of a provisional railway station constructed in 1886 to the designs of F D Bannister, on behalf of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway,” said Mr Crook.

“The building is too high. This will not form an entrance to the Arndale Centre. We believe it can be reduced in height so the Railway Station Clock Tower is the dominant feature of the junction. We find the present design of the corner building most unattractive – indeed ugly.

“It rather resembles the remains of the Twin Towers in New York following the terrorist attack with upper portions canted outwards. We believe it should be redesigned and pay respect to the listed station building opposite. At the moment it is in conflict with it.

“We’re pleased the unattractive existing Gildredge Pub is due to be demolished but believe it should be replaced with a sympathetic building which perhaps could echo the original Victorian Gildredge Hotel which once existed on the site. One solution might be to replicate the original Victorian hotel, an approach carried out successfully in European capital cities such as Dresden, where replicas of buildings that existed before the World War II bombing are now being constructed to great effect.

“Alternatively, however, a well-designed modern building might echo the canopied original structure by using for example sun shades now popular on modern buildings, like at the Birley Centre or in flats in Carlisle Road.”