Eastbourne’s Beacon shopping centre showcases town’s history with new attractions
An ambitious new attraction is being built at the Beacon to ‘explore the creation and heritage of the town’.
Parts of The Beacon are being transformed into four areas representing the hamlets – Bourne, Southbourne, Meads and Sea Houses – where the modern town of Eastbourne began to emerge in the late 19th century.
The hamlets will each have ‘bold custom-designed structures’ and feature a written narrative supplied by Eastbourne Borough Council’s heritage manager Jo Seaman, to tell the story of Eastbourne.
Included in this story will be characters from Animal Farm, the classic novel by Eastbourne-educated George Orwell.
According to a spokesperson from The Beacon, Legal & General, long-term investors of the centre, ‘is looking well beyond the next 24 months’ by putting this attraction together.
Denz Ibrahim, head of retail and futuring for Legal & General Investment Management, said, “Changes in consumer needs mean that the retail sector in the UK has seen a shift in recent years. Covid has exacerbated those challenges that the industry already faced.
“Customers now want much more from their local shopping centres, beyond just shopping. They want places full of energy and now, more than ever, want better services, more memorable experiences and a wider variety of offers.
“They want a space curated for them and their community.”
Mr Ibrahim said these first changes will give attention to ‘the forgotten corridors’.
He said, “We believe these are the forgotten heart of centres that need bringing back. Our brand-new take on the public realm, by re-imagining its form, function and design, will create a new place which flows through the centre for people to play, meet, eat and relax.”
“This public realm will be created with a nod to the heritage of the town and will take our customers on a journey that will enhance their experience in their centre.”
Once this is done, there are plans in place for later in the year which includes the launch of an in-house market for local businesses.
A new initiative called ‘Gather’ will introduce an in-house curated events programme which will host a range of classes from yoga to chess.
Mr Ibrahim said, “Ultimately we want to add value both to our customers and to the businesses within our schemes so that we can remain both relevant and resilient in a post-covid world.”