A NEW state of the art conference centre and exhibition hall and moving the centre court within Devonshire Park are just some of the far reaching redevelopment proposals.
The green light was this week given to move forward with the plans which means detailed business case assessments will be carried out on two options drawn up by internationally renowned architects Marks Barfield.
The various concepts were designed to enhance the town’s conference facilities, address the significant repairs and refurbishment required at the Congress Theatre and Winter Garden, resolve the unacceptable lack of disabled access within the Winter Garden and increase use of the park by the public outside of the summer months.
Among the proposals being considered are improved facilities for the international tennis tournament, including the possible relocation of centre court within Devonshire Park, new state of the art conference and exhibition hall to maintain year round business tourism and to attract more conferences, cafes, restaurants, visitor and retail spaces, better links with the seafront through greater pedestrianisation, improvements to the Congress Theatre and Winter Garden, good quality public spaces for people to spend quality time, with a sculpture trail from the town centre to and around Devonshire Park and visitor attractions including play spaces, landscaping and a new iconic attraction within the park.
Marks Barfield anticipates costs of between £30 and £43 million for each scheme, with Option Four being the most expensive.
Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt, said, “We now have two options that will be subject to further analysis to establish the long term benefits and viability. We are committed to demonstrating there is a sound business case with a financial return on any future investment that makes the most of the assets of Devonshire Park.”
Leader of the Opposition group and member of the project board, Councillor David Elkin, said, “The project board was very impressed by the work carried out by Marks Barfield and welcomed the radical vision of how Devonshire Park might be transformed. We remain at an early stage in the process but are optimistic that we will soon have a robust business case to take forward. Above all, both parties agree that the front of the Congress Theatre must be treated as a top priority.”