Bandstand fiasco, who is to blame?

THE recent spate of bad news stories concerning buildings in the town owned or operated by Eastbourne Borough Council prompts me to write to express my deep dissatisfaction with the local council – the latest fiasco being the Bandstand.

This edifice – one of the most outstanding designs of its type in the country – has evidently only just been discovered to be in a dangerous state, hence its immediate closure.

This on top of the disgraceful episode of the Wish Tower Café, which in turn followed on the discovery that the structure of the Congress Theatre was in such a state it had to be wrapped up in scaffolding and sheeting – for more than two years now!

There was a time – happy days – when we had a borough engineer, borough architect, a borough this and a borough that, posts filled by individuals properly qualified to fill them - overseen by a town clerk and elected councillors who all had one thing in common.

That was a love and real concern for the beautiful town in which we lived.

The councillors at that time, many leading local business people such as (Sir) Sydney Caffyn, Ald John Howlett, Ald Percy Wood to name just a few – all gave willingly of their time.

No such thing as ‘attendance allowances’ to tempt people to stand for election, no such thing as an overriding political party affiliation, which has provided the ruling party with the ability to spend the first two or even more years of their term of office, blaming their predecessors for everything which needs attention, both nationally and locally.

If you own a building or similar asset, you need to put a bit of money aside for repairs each year. We do it for our own homes and the councils should do it for public property. The problem I suspect lies with accountants who devised a scheme whereby you can keep revenue costs down by not doing any maintenance and instead seek every few years a loan for capital works.

That way the cost does not appear in the revenue accounts. Why is it that the, otherwise splendid Eastbourne Borough Council website does not even contain a list of departments never mind names of the officer’s responsible.

The recent spate of bad news for buildings calls, in my view, for the resignation or the dismissal of the officer whose responsibility it was to oversee such matters.

I could go on to highways and potholes, but I have already taken up enough of your available space!


Wish Hill