THE CONTROVERSIAL decision to demolish the Wish Tower restaurant looks set to cost the tax payer upwards of £50,000, on top of the £38,000 handed out in compensation to the previous tenants.
The once-popular seafront eatery was closed last year when Eastbourne Borough Council terminated the existing lease – a move which cost the public purse almost £40,000 and was, at the time, defended as returning a prime location back into the hand’s of the local authority.
However, once council staff had a chance to fully assess the state of the iconic building, the authority soon realised it would cost a huge amount to bring it back into a state of repair – with some estimates hinting at a £400,000 outlay.
Demolition was therefore mooted as the best possibly solution and last week, members of the council’s cabinet confirmed that a sum of £53,000 would be earmarked to pay for the Wish Tower to be reduced to rubble.
Councillors also warned that the eventual cost could outstrip that initial budget because work would need to be carried out on the site itself in order to make it more attractive and landscaped.
One opposition councillor however questioned the sense in spending approaching to £100,000 snapping up and then smashing down the Wish Tower, without having at least carried out extensive surveys and explored all avenues first.
Conservative Cllr Tom Liddiard addressed the LibDem cabinet at Wednesday’s meeting, urging them to rethink their stance.
He said, “I have been informed that this [the £53,000] relates to the demolition of this magnificent landmark, even though a structural survey has not been completed.
“Full costings of refurbishment have not been sought; a full quote for the demolition has not even been sought.
“How can this administration allow this to continue?
“How can you make such important decisions without knowing all of the facts on the table?”