Chart topping band welcomes plans for outdoor gigs at Eastbourne venue

Christmas Day celebrations at the Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne, 2013 ENGSUS00120131227120029
Christmas Day celebrations at the Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne, 2013 ENGSUS00120131227120029

A chart topping band has welcomed plans to turn the Redoubt in to a major entertainment venue and hinted they may play on the opening night.

A blueprint has been unveiled to shut the Redoubt as a museum and use it instead as a venue for live music and other events. A purpose built museum to house the existing military collection and local artefacts could be built next door to the Redoubt in Pavillion Gardens.

This week Rob Green, drummer with Eastbourne band Toploader, said, “Turning the Redoubt into an entertainment venue is a move that will be welcomed by many. I’ve got really fond memories of the place and along with the Bandstand I think Eastbourne will have two top open air venues for live gigs. Who knows, we might play the opening night?”

Ben Haskitt is managing director of Motion Entertainments and said, “I have always thought the seafront is crying out for more opportunities to stage live events for a younger demographic.

“The events in the town are great, especially for families and older people, but if it’s done properly the Redoubt could become a regular venue for top bands, singers and comedians.

“Clearly, this type of promotion will work best during the summer but I’m sure the off peak calendar can be filled with other types of events. We have promoted some of the biggest bands in the world and I see no reason why the Redoubt couldn’t host a more intimate gig. I know a lot of top comics who would love to play there too.”

Ambitious plans to redevelop the Redoubt as a museum have been shelved as it was revealed a new purpose-built one could be built next to it instead.

Council officials were hoping to attract lottery funding to turn the Redoubt into a museum to house the existing military collection and local history artefacts. But a recent survey showed the fortress is in such a bad state, those plans will now have to be abandoned.

That means the Redoubt could become a venue for entertainment, community events, guided tours and a new café, and initial plans could also include the creation of a new purpose built museum alongside the fortress on the site of the Pavilion, currently used as tea rooms.

A council spokesperson said, “The survey work on the Redoubt during the summer showed the current environmental conditions at the Redoubt fall well below the necessary humidity levels for safe storage and display of the military collections.

“The accreditation needed to keep the collection expires early in 2017 and with conditions so poor there is no hope of gaining the required renewal.

“There is plenty of evidence to show the Redoubt already functions superbly as a versatile entertainment venue.

“It is a unique building, an important attraction on the seafront and has the potential to host far greater numbers of visitors.

“Additionally, research has demonstrated that while a significant number of people wish to see an enhanced museum, it does not have to be in the Redoubt – this outcome is supported by the fact a large number of visitors to the Redoubt only visit the parade ground and the café, not the museum.

“The council remains totally committed to delivering a new museum for Eastbourne that is fully accessible, fit for purpose and provides a platform for the council’s Heritage Service to fulfil the plans to create the ‘Story of Eastbourne’.

“To this end architects have been commissioned to prepare drawings and initial costings.”

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