Eastbourne hotel reopens after months but entrance blocked by workers

A hotel on Eastbourne seafront has had its entrance blocked by workers on the day it reopened.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:38 pm

The East Beach Hotel in Royal Parade reopened on May 17, along with the rest of the hotel industry, after months of closure due to covid restrictions.

However, that morning when owner Heidi Cowderoy woke up ready to greet customers, she said she was met with Lightning Fibre workers outside and bollards blocking the whole of her hotel’s entrance including the fire escape.

Lightning Fibre is an Eastbourne-based broadband provider.

East Beach Hotel SUS-210517-144312001

Heidi said she got no warning of the work being done and customers had no way of getting in.

She said, “They’ve blocked the whole of the front of my hotel. They’ve had five months to do this, it’s ridiculous. They’ll be clogging up the whole seafront. There is no pedestrian lane provided.

“Even if the tourists come, what are they going to think?”

Heidi said last week the workers were further down the road from her at the Langham and Majestic hotels.

Photo from Lightening Fibre after workers had completed the work. Taken on May 17. SUS-210518-170155001

When she asked at the time, the workers told her the disruption would be ending at the Majestic and not reach her hotel.

The work being done involves taking up the whole pavement and therefore access is limited.

From speaking to the workers, Heidi said they eventually cleared her fire escape and made a small access point up the main steps, but customers still needed to go on the road in order to access the entrance.

Heidi said, “It’s disgusting. I feel sorry for the rest of Royal Parade that have this for the bank holiday weekend next week.

“It’s an absolute joke.”

A spokesperson from Lightning Fibre said, “It is necessary to use barriers to protect the public during street works, and to close pavements for a short time.

“Our street works are undertaken as quickly as possible - access remains throughout – anyone requiring access can ask a member of the team and access will be made available.

“You’ll see from the photo (taken May 17) that we completed the works very quickly and left the area tidy with full access to the hotel.

“We appreciate that this major infrastructure upgrade causes some inconvenience and disruption. Sadly, there is no way of laying fibre optics without undertaking some, short term road and pavement closures.

“Unfortunately, it’s not possible to avoid working when businesses are operational, and we hand deliver advanced notification letters to all homes and businesses affected.

“We also try to talk directly to businesses in advance of street works but that is not always possible – for example, when a business is closed.

“Our community engagement team went to talk to this business owner earlier today.

“Fire exits remain accessible throughout our street works.

“We provide a phone line for use by homes and businesses wishing to contact us – as a local business ourselves, we rely on the goodwill of our fellow businesses and we’re sorry that this business owner felt she had no alternative than to go to the press.

“As an Eastbourne-based business, we are an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and Eastbourne Hospitality Association, and engage with members proactively during our roll out.”