A report has emerged which reveals parts of an Eastbourne landmark were virtually condemned earlier this year and urgent repairs were needed before a potentially fatal accident.
Temporary repairs were carried out at Eastbourne Bandstand ahead of the busy summer season and now the popular venue is closed, a major structural investigation is underway to see the extent of the work needed.
A report by engineers submitted to the council in connection with the investigation – and dated May this year – show some of the structural defects were so dangerous they were “a potential risk to life”.
Some of the work needed to be prioritised, according to the report, which looked at the lower parade where the colonnade, lower shelter and Bandstand stage, are; the middle parade where the promenade deck is as well as the Bandstand structure, the middle balcony, middle shelter, the store and a sub-station; and finally the upper parade where the upper balcony is and the stairs leading to Grand Parade.
Some of the remarks within the report relate to water seeping into the structure and cracks which “ultimately cause debris to fall which is extremely dangerous and a potential risk to life”.
The report also states that “if water cannot be eliminated, the structural columns will continue to degrade and ultimately fail resulting in injury and loss of life”.
Much of the lower colonnade of the Bandstand facing the sea has been cordoned off due to debris falling and temporary work has been carried out in the lower shelter.
This week a spokesperson at Eastbourne council said, “We asked our contractors to prepare a routine inspection report that identified work needed prior to the summer season getting underway.
“These repairs were completed and thousands of people enjoyed yet another stunning series of performances at the Bandstand.
“As has been made clear previously, the age of the Bandstand coupled with its exposed seafront position means that the powerful winter storms and high tides do take a toll on this wonderful old building.
“We are soon to begin intrusive inspection work to establish the work needed in the long term to ensure audiences are entertained at the Bandstand for generations to come.”
The Bandstand was built in 1935 to the designs of borough council engineer Leslie Rosevere and originally seated 3,500 but has been reduced to 1,600.
It cost £28,000 and the first concerts were given on July 28 1935 with a total of 10,400 attending all three concerts and paying 3d each
For many years the bandstand played host to a full programme of military bands but is now well known for hosting tribute shows during the summer weekends.
In recent years the bandstand has featured in numerous television programmes such as Foyle’s War,
Major restoration work took place at the venue in September 2013 to correct structural issues after decades of winters and salt air corroded the steel framework beneath the bandstand’s azure tiled roof. Steel structure and columns were replaced to restore the roof to its former glory.