Hopes for old Towner rescue package

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A RESCUE package could be mounted to save the former Towner Art Gallery if campaigners get their way.

The Gildredge Manor House is back on the property market again with a price tag of £795,000 and the Old Towner Project, a group of volunteers, is hoping to either raise or borrow the estimated £2 million needed to buy it and turn it into a community venue and calling on the council to step in an help.

Since it was originally sold by the council, two developers have bought the building, which has permission to be converted into flats, but it has remained empty and unused and has been badly vandalised.

Helen Warren, chair of the Old Towner Project, said, “I believe that, before it is too late, now is the time for the council to step in. If the project could raise or borrow the money to purchase it would make an excellent community arts centre running workshops, performances and a restaurant.There is also the possibility of it becoming a wedding venue or film set.

“There are lots of other ideas that could work well as a community project and boost the town’s economy.

“We feel sure that with a big fund raising effort and grants, we could get together the £2 million needed.

“We know there is tremendous goodwill for it to be returned to the people of Eastbourne.”

Council leader David Tutt told the Herald, “I share the concerns expressed about the condition of this building and am meeting with Helen Warren and Annie Walker on Friday morning to discuss what support the council can offer to the Old Towner Project team in their bid to save this historic building.”