Wish Tower debate flares up once more

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THE LONG-RUNNING debate on the Wish Tower Restaurant blew up at a council meeting again last night.

The Tories have long said the building should not have been destroyed but should have been restored. They felt the Lib Dems rushed in to the decision to pull the building down.

Tory Cllr Barry Taylor, said it had cost £125,000 to demolish the building and the decision to do so had been rushed.

He said, “They have made an error and have demolished the building in haste.”

Cllr Taylor said he had also heard the tenant had pulled out and asked for answers to questions. He also suggested the council’s £290,000 contingency fund should have been used to do something with the Wish Tower Restaurant.

Cllr Gill Mattock, who deals with the council’s finances, said the fund was not for that purpose and read out the definition of contingency to members. Lib Dem councillors accused the Tories of ‘talking the town down’.

Cllr Jon Ungar said, “I wondered how long it was going to be until Cllr Taylor found something to talk the town down.”

Cllr Neil Stanley, the cabinet member for tourism, defended the town’s seafront and added, “We have had an incredibly successful summer in Eastbourne this year and people are not talking about the demolition of the Wish Tower Restaurant.”

Cllr Stanley suggested most people, like he and many of his fellow Lib Dem councillors, were pleased to see the building had gone. The Lib Dems have always maintained it was beyond repair, dangerous and an eyesore. But Cllr Sandie Howlett said many hoteliers she had spoken to did not feel the same way and were sad to see its demolition.

Tory Cllr Caroline Ansell said, “There were very, very many people who were disheartened that it was knocked down.”

Tories said the building was not just a place for tea but was a popular attraction to visitors and residents alike.