Backlash following town’s ‘old age’ story

Pensioners enjoy Eastbourne beach and pier. July 24th 2012 E30065N
Pensioners enjoy Eastbourne beach and pier. July 24th 2012 E30065N

A report claiming that Eastbourne has become the first place in the country to boast a population with an average age of more than 70 has led to a backlash from readers and criticism from a councillor.

The Daily Mail reported the news, which actually focused on the Meads area, in which it said the town has an average age of 71.1. Readers said the figures only related to a small number of Eastbourne’s population.

Councillor Carolyn Heaps, tourism and leisure cabinet member for Eastbourne Borough Council, said had the research been taken from the whole of the town the results would differ significantly.

She said, “From the Census taken in 2011, it shows that the average age of the Eastbourne population is 43 and that over half the population are under the age of 45 and this has increased by 10.2 per cent in the last 10 years, more than twice the average increase for England and Wales of four per cent.

“The Census also showed that the growth in over 65s is at a much lower rate of just 0.6 per cent compared to 10.9 per cent nationally.

“In addition, according to the County Council statistics, Eastbourne has the highest population of young people living here than anywhere else in the county.

“Unfortunately the image used for the Daily Mail article was not Eastbourne Pier, but taken from another seaside town.

“An image of Eastbourne Pier would have shown a newly refurbished nightclub at the end of the pier, busy refreshment areas and the arcade, bringing many families and younger people to visit.

“How disappointing that the Daily Mail didn’t have up to date statistics to support their article.”