LETTER: This is a time to be visionary

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I read with interest the article and letter from David Dimbleby, Chair of the Trustees of the Towner Art Gallery [Herald, May 26]. As a local resident I strongly support the views Mr Dimbleby expresses about the importance of the Towner Art Gallery to Eastbourne.

It is indeed very short-sighted of Eastbourne Borough Council if it really intends to immediately cut the funding of the Towner by 50 per cent , given the contribution the gallery makes to schools, communities, vulnerable groups, local residents and visitors to the town.

We all understand the financial challenges facing local government. However, this is the time to be entrepreneurial and visionary!

I would argue that Eastbourne really needs to have the courage to invest in and benefit from the future value-added outcomes of the Devonshire Park Development (of which the Towner is poised to play a central part). The vision of this cultural hub providing entertainment, cultural enrichment and attracting new and profitable conference business and visitors to the town is central to the economic development of Eastbourne.

There are many successful examples of local (eg Margate), national (eg Glasgow, Liverpool) and international (eg Bilbao) cultural-art-led economic regeneration projects which I am sure Eastbourne Borough Council must have heard about.

The council is encouraged to think big and invest in Eastbourne’s future by continuing to fund the Towner Art Gallery and certainly (in the short term of the next few years) provide the senior management team at the Towner with a longer period of time to establish the sustainable financial independence that the gallery is well positioned to achieve.

LINDA BUCKHAM

Meads Road