When, for whatever reason, visitors are unimpressed with what a town has to offer, and they choose to go elsewhere, they are unlikely to return in future years.
Eastbourne is currently dependent upon its tourism offer, and indeed it has much to commend it, but its future is clearly in the balance.
For the council to cover the Congress Theatre in scaffolding and do nothing for two years is bizarre, to knock down the Wish Tower Café without a prepared alternative use for the site is, at least, shortsighted, and to commence urgent repairs to the Bandstand at the end of the winter period is unbelievably poor planning.
When those disasters are compounded by the latest news regarding the loss of the Red Arrows from the Airbourne programme, then many questions arise with regard to the council’s competence to take Eastbourne forward and develop its economy. It is also clear the council’s management of its assets leaves a lot to be desired.
On a positive note the council does have an opportunity to re-examine its event programme and look at ways of redesigning Airbourne that do not rely upon a star attraction.
It should be an event that will attract large numbers of visitors that involves not only the seafront, but our town centre and other locations in the town. What about more evening events, including some for families and young adults, during that four day period to keep people in town for longer?
Attracting thousands to our seafront is all very well, but at present how many of them go elsewhere in the town or visit our magnificent harbour which appears to be a well guarded secret?
While the council must protect our Victorian heritage, we do not want Eastbourne to be preserved in aspic. Whether we like it or not, we do live in the 21st Century and visitors have different expectations to those of fifty or more years ago.
Graham Marsden, Wish Hill.