Demolition diggers bring in the crowds at Eastbourne

Terry Spires
Terry Spires

Demolition man Terry Spires and his colleagues have become something of a tourist attraction in recent weeks.

The team from Best Demolition are in action six days a week, dismantling a row of empty shops near Eastbourne railway station to make way for the Arndale shopping centre extension.

Shoppers, residents and tourists are finding perfect viewing spots in Ashford Road to witness the diggers in action.

Demolition will finish at the end of July, the area will be flattened and piling work will begin to lay the foundations for the 170,000 sq ft extension that will house an additional 22 new retail units, seven restaurants and a nine-screen cinema.

For Terry and the team, it’s all in a day’s work.

“I’ve operated diggers of all shapes and sizes for the last 32 years,” said Terry.

“I’ve worked on sewage sites, I’ve shifted pebbles on beaches, and I’ve helped build a terminal at Gatwick Airport.

“For the work on the Arndale Centre, I’m operating one of the largest diggers, with a 28m arm.

“It has a selector grab and 360 degree controls.

“In short, this makes it possible to pick up the smallest of items and delicately extract it from the demolition site.

“The days of the wrecking ball and chain are long gone. There is a huge emphasis on recycling, so our work can involve intricate manoeuvres and placing it on the correct pile. So even though the digger is a massive piece of equipment, it is one of the easiest to manipulate.”

The demolition work is being managed by Kier Construction.

Senior project manager Kevin Watts said work was progressing at a good pace and praised the various teams involved.

“The guys from Best Demolition are doing a great job, supported by workmen, drivers and support staff,” said Kevin. “Everybody works as a team and we are all geared towards the day when demolition is completed and we move onto the building phase.”