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Herald Opinion: A Brian Rix farce? It has all the makings of one

IN A week of an avalanche of response to the controversy over Eastbourne’s shopping future, the silence from the Town Hall has been deafening.

Not an official word has come from the council since its planning committee overturned its own officers’ recommendation to restrict the type of shops that could open at an extended Sovereign Harbour retail park.

It was a vote that threw a huge question mark over the future of the £70 million extension plan for the Arndale centre.

The Herald’s website reflected the divisions, too, as readers fell into one camp or the other. Then Legal and General entered the fray again, unhappy with the claim it was holding a gun to the town’s head and pointing out that the council’s stance flew in the face of national policy.

Exit stage left L&G and enter stage right Mary Portas, whose fund to help towns regenerate their centres had led to a seemingly timely bid from Eastbourne for a slice of the cake. Meantime, the remaining guest bedroom door stayed shut, as Prudential pondered the viability of its harbour scheme, and missing altogether from centre stage was the council, refusing to pick up its script.

A Brian Rix farce? It has all the makings of one. Let’s just pray for a sensible ending.

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THE achievers’ evening is always one to bring a lump to the throat and this year’s event – held at the Winter Garden last Friday – was no exception.

The stories of the town’s unsung heroes, of individuals’ selfless efforts on behalf of others and of courage in the face of adversity . . . it was all there in abundance for an audience of more than 400 to appreciate and applaud.

Teenager Chloe Laslett was the overall Achiever of the Year, in recognition of her courageous struggle against a rare disease that is cruelly robbing her of her sight.

The audience rose to its feet to honour this terrific young lady. She told people that she couldn’t see them, but she could hear them. And the Winter Garden roof was almost raised in admiration of Chloe and all those on stage before her.

It was a humbling and yet uplifting evening. A huge thank you to all involved.

 

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