Herald Opinion: Eastbourne will stagnate unless we attract new investment

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No rush-hour queues and barely a jam to speak of. Traffic will soon be hurtling its way into Eastbourne at break-neck speed.

We’re not talking about a sudden financial windfall to cure overnight the ills of the A27. We’re talking here about a super fast broadband highway.

Eastbourne has long felt short-changed at the lack of vision and investment that has so disadvantaged East Sussex in its efforts to attract new business. The dream of better road and rail links at times seems further away than ever.

So where does that leave us? With the council this week making what appears a bold and innovative move to partner a cutting-edge technology company in bringing super fast wireless and fibre broadband to our doorstep.

It isn’t cheap. The council will be putting into the pot some £357,000 as an equity investment in CloudConnX, and though it stands to benefit from a lucrative income stream as the business grows, there are bound to be those who will doubt the wisdom of the decision.

Yet what can be more important than the economic vitality of our town? We will stagnate unless we attract new investment and new opportunities for our next generation.

Road and rail links remain crucial in moving people and products in and out of East Sussex and the campaign to better them must remain as vigorous as ever. But the super hi-tech highway will give Eastbourne an edge that should push it very quickly up the relocation ratings.

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THANK heavens the roadworks have finally gone. But even then, as we report today, what an eyesore greets people now as their first impression of the town centre.

With the cones out and the road dug up, the scene outside Eastbourne railway station had resembled that from a war zone.

Three fires within a year in the same stretch of road have only served to draw even more attention to a corner of Eastbourne that has become an embarrassment. What a crying shame for the handful of businesses - some of them still successful against all the odds - that continue to trade there.

Venture past this sad stretch of Terminus Road and you still have to negotiate fume-ridden Diesel Alley before you reach the town centre. Eastbourne deserves better and the town plan should be bold in demanding it.