Controversy after Unite’s £10 million spend on hotel

The Eastbourne Centre September 2nd 2013 E36047P
The Eastbourne Centre September 2nd 2013 E36047P

Unite is spending £10 million renovating a luxury hotel in Eastbourne even as it threatens to stage a nationwide march against poverty.

All of the bedrooms and lobbies of the four-star Eastbourne Centre hotel, previously known as the Transport and General Workers Union centre, where suites cost as much as £280 a night, have had a facelift.

The restaurant is also being improved.

The spending spree emerged as Unite presses for a national march next year against the Government’s austerity drive. It is promoting the plan at the TUC conference, which opened in Bournemouth this week.

The upgrades were revealed on the TripAdvisor website by the hotel’s manager, Robin Hodson.

“Inside we have nearly completed a £10 million refit of all bedrooms and public areas,” he said.

“Only the restaurant left to complete.”

Responding to criticisms in a national newspaper about the multi million pound refurbishment, a Unite spokeswoman said, “The Eastbourne hotel was built to give Unite members – working-class people – a chance of an affordable holiday.

“It was built in 1974 so of course it will need modernisation.”

When it was first built in the 1970s, it caused uproar among traditionalists who said it was out of keeping with Eastbourne’s Victorian seafront facade. It was primarily used as a conference centre in years gone by but changed its name to the Eastbourne Centre some years ago and still offers discounted rates to Unite union members coming to Eastbourne as hotel guests and delegates. It is also open to the public.