Eastbourne road demolished to make way for Arndale extension

Arndale Centre manager Bill Plumridge behind the controls. Photograph by Simon Dack
Arndale Centre manager Bill Plumridge behind the controls. Photograph by Simon Dack

It’s been a case of going, going gone in Eastbourne town centre recently as a large stretch of Terminus Road has been demolished to make way for the new £85 million extension to the Arndale Centre.

The demolition comes as new statistics reveal Eastbourne is one of the UK’s fastest growing seaside resorts and the fastest growing town in East Sussex.

The multi-million pound regeneration project is due to transform the town centre and the Arndale by providing 22 new shops including H&M and FatFace, seven new restaurants to include Carluccios and Byron Burger and a nine screen multiplex cinema.

Recent figures from Tourism South East value Eastbourne’s tourism industry at £388million and economists say that figure is only set to grow over the coming years.

Over the last two weeks the demolition project, which has seen The Gildredge pub razed to the ground along with Argos and the Wimpy, has become something of a local attraction with passers-by stopping to watch redundant buildings taken apart by specialist munching machines.

For more photographs of the demolition scheme as it progresses see our picture gallery at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk

Meanwhile, after 27 years as manager of the Eastbourne Arndale Centre, it can be hard to find a brand-new experience in a day’s work.

But sitting at the controls of a long-reach demolition machine was a definite first for Bill Plumridge when he went to see the progress being made in preparation for the extension to the centre.

Mr Plumridge, who began as manager in May 1990, is now enjoying seeing the biggest changes to the centre since it was built in 1980.

Economists say the long-awaited 170,000 sq ft extension will transform the town centre. It is being funded by Arndale Centre owners Legal & General.

The work is being carried out by construction group Kier, which began work on site in January.

The first building to disappear was The Gildredge pub, standing on the corner of Terminus and Ashford Roads, with demolition work now continuing along Terminus Road and taking out former shops including Wimpy and Argos.

Mr Plumridge said, “It is fantastic to see demolition work progressing, and to be part of the exciting process that will bring about lasting changes to Eastbourne town centre, including a much-needed revitalisation of the night-time economy.”

Live footage from two time-lapse cameras, recording the transformation, can be seen on the Arndale Centre website http://www.eastbournearndaleshopping.co.uk/