Family dismay over decision to demolish Wish tower

John Foyle
John Foyle
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THE MAN whose family paid for the Wish Tower Sun Lounge and Cafe to be built as a monument to the people of Eastbourne who fought in the Second World War says he is devastated to hear it is being demolished.

John Foyle, his brother Eric and their father Gilbert Foyle – who started the famous Foyle’s bookshop in London – donated around £70,000 in the late 1950s for the building “in memory of local people who were injured or killed between 1939 and 1945 and for the fortitude of the people of the town during those years”.

A plaque commemorating the bequest by Gilbert Foyle, a former councillor, and his two sons, is sited on the building along with the official opening of the sun lounge and cafe by the Duke of Devonshire in July 1961.

But the plaque is now behind hoardings along with the rest of the building after it was condemned at the end of last year.

It had been leased to a private company for several years but after a long and bitter legal wrangle the keys were finally handed back to Eastbourne Borough Council in October in such a bad condition any plans to refurbish it had to be shelved and demolition gangs are due to move in soon.

John Foyle said he had hoped the building would be refurbished and restored to its former glory but was “distraught” when he learnt from friends it was to be pulled down. He is also angry the council has not kept him informed.

“I haven’t been kept up to date with what has been happening,” said Mr Foyle, who lives in St John’s Road. “The last I knew was back in October the council said it would refurbish the building and bring it up to a standard so it would be fit for purpose.

“Then I hear it is to be pulled down. I was distraught. This was the town’s memorial and this has been totally overlooked by the council. My father wanted it to be somewhere where the public could sit and enjoy the lovely views of Eastbourne. It is very sad for me.”