THE WISH Tower Restaurant has been described as a “ghastly European canteen” that needs to be refurbished as a top priority.
The seafront eatery was recently handed back to Eastbourne Borough Council by lessees and has been earmarked for a major facelift.
It closed, has been stripped bare and is now surrounded by boarding awaiting a massive renovation.
But concerned Conservatives fear it will go the same way as Treasure Island, which has remained closed throughout the summer after the company which rented it from the council went under, and the Congress Theatre, which remains hidden behind hoarding and scaffolding.
The call was made at Wednesday night’s meeting of Eastbourne Borough Council at the Town Hall when Conservative leader councillor David Elkin said the council should be doing all it can to get the cafe re-opened again as soon as possible.
“I want a reassurance, with which to go back to concerned local residents, that the Wish Tower Restaurant will not end up like another Congress Theatre, boarded up, and covered with scaffolding and murals for an indefinite period of time, while the Liberal Democrat administration sits on its hands and wonders what to do for the best.
“I want a definitive time line. Unfortunately, no such reassurance seems to be forthcoming and no deadlines are in the offing.”
Councillor Elkin thanked council officers for their work in getting the restaurant back into council hands after a long-running dispute over finances with the former lessees but said it was vital the eatery is re-opened as soon as possible.
Councillor Neil Stanley, Liberal Democrat member for tourism, who described the restaurant as a “ghastly European canteen”, said he could not guarantee the restaurant would be open by spring next year and admitted there were no firm plans to refurbish and re-open it.
There have been talks about opening a restaurant staffed by catering students but Councillor Stanley said that since getting the keys to the building and visiting the site, it is in such a bad state of disrepair and derelict, he could not say when it would re-open.
Council leader David Tutt said the state of the restaurant was “far worse than I ever imagined it could be”.
“It is one hollow space,” he said, “the carpet is in a terrible condition, the cleanliness leaves much to be desired despite the fact we have already had people in there cleaning it up and the state of the roof is one which makes it impossible to open it at this time.
“Work is underway in terms of discussions with external groups but it is impossible to set a timeline.”