Ambitious plans to redevelop the Redoubt Fortress as a museum have been shelved as it was revealed a new purpose-built one could be built next to it instead.
Council officials were hoping to attract lottery funding to turn the Redoubt into a museum to house the existing military collection and local history artefacts. But a recent survey showed the fortress is in such a bad state, those plans will now have to be abandoned.
That means the Redoubt could become a venue for entertainment, community events, guided tours and a new café, and initial plans could also include the creation of a new purpose built museum alongside the fortress on the site of the Pavilion, currently used as tea rooms.
A council spokesperson said, “The survey work on the Redoubt during the summer showed the current environmental conditions at the Redoubt fall well below the necessary humidity levels for safe storage and display of the military collections.
“The accreditation needed to keep the collection expires early in 2017 and with conditions so poor there is no hope of gaining the required renewal.
“There is plenty of evidence to show the Redoubt already functions superbly as a versatile entertainment venue.
“It is a unique building, an important attraction on the seafront and has the potential to host far greater numbers of visitors.
“Additionally, research has demonstrated that while a significant number of people wish to see an enhanced museum, it does not have to be in the Redoubt – this outcome is supported by the fact a large number of visitors to the Redoubt only visit the parade ground and the café, not the museum.
“The council remains totally committed to delivering a new museum for Eastbourne that is fully accessible, fit for purpose and provides a platform for the council’s Heritage Service to fulfil the plans to create the ‘Story of Eastbourne’.
“To this end architects have been commissioned to prepare drawings and initial costings.”
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