THE proposal to spend £70 million on extending the Eastbourne Arndale shopping mall is of course a boost of confidence in this town by the developers.
Looking carefully at the photographs and plans of an artist’s impression of what it will look like both internally and externally it seems devoid of any architectural redeeming features.
In other words rigor mortis of the drawing board, the same if by computer-aided design.
Horizontal and vertical straight lines in all directions, where are the gentle and subtle curves that would take away the harshness.
No interesting support columns, with a touch of classic Greek or Roman design with corbels supporting similar interesting beams or arches to support the glass roof. Not even a seat or bench indicated.
Malls today need more sound absorbing materials, noise levels in the main walking areas almost drown out users conversation.
Quiet corners, some interesting works of art here and there are needed. Instead our mall will be more of the same, more mobile phone shops, ladies clothing, big name coffee shops, card shops, etc, good to see two new large department stores included which can be varied and interesting to shop in thanks to skills of owners.
Interesting family-owned small shops specialising in unusual goods should be included some where, but alas high rents and rates and overheads make it almost impossible for them to survive in malls where quick design and build, get the multiples in for a fast return on the capital laid out is the main criteria.
Our council will, of course, be in on the act in order to claw in business rates as quick as possible to make up for the present loss from shops closed due to the present economic situation.
It really is a shame that when the Arndale mall extension opens, so much of the above mentioned will not be there for shoppers and tourists to experience for many more years to come.