How is the £2 million promised to Eastbourne after the pier fire being spent?

Picture by Kienan Connolly
Picture by Kienan Connolly

A week after Eastbourne pier’s new owner demanded a slice of the £2 million promised to the town by PM David Cameron following the devastating blaze, a report breaking down how the cash is being spent has been released.

The report, which details the progress being made to deliver the Government-agreed projects, will be discussed by the Pier Action Group tomorrow (January 7).

Mr Cameron promised the money to Eastbourne to support various tourism initiatives in the town after flames ripped through the Victorian structure 18 months ago. 
However, last week Sheikh Abid Gulzar, the new owner of the pier, claimed he should receive some of the cash.

He said, “I spoke to David Cameron when he visited our great town, and he left me under no illusion that this money would go to whoever owned the pier, whether that be me, the previous owner, or indeed anybody else.”

In fact a business case, explaining where the money would be spent, was considered by the Department for Communities and Local Government and signed off by government before the town received the cash.

The government decision followed a wide-ranging consultation on how to spend the money that involved the Pier Action Group and numerous groups including Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, Eastbourne Hospitality Association (formerly the Eastbourne Hotels Association) and representatives from the voluntary sector in the town.

The full list of agreed projects and the approved funding is as follows:

· Repairs and refurbishment to allow access to the Camera Obscura on the Pier (£65k)

· A sculpture of remembrance for the Pier fire and the response from the community (£22K)

· A history trail celebrating the town’s diverse history (£47K)

· Stars & Ice Christmas Programme, including Neon Noel light show and Christmas markets (£137K)

· New flagship restaurant on the Wish Tower site (£1.2m)

· New on-screen live information facility to be installed in hotels and other locations (£152K)

· A rebrand and migration of the website to a new platform that will be accessible on all types of devices and supported by a marketing campaign (£249k)

Councillor David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said, “We’ve got some really exciting projects in the pipeline that both residents and visitors to our fantastic town will enjoy and benefit from.

“The response from the public to the Christmas attractions was nothing short of sensational and the momentum it created must be maintained.”

Christina Ewbank, chief executive of the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, added, “The aim of the Stars & Ice Christmas Programme was to increase footfall in the town centre to encourage people to shop in bricks and mortar retail stores rather than on-line.

“We were successful in this and welcomed over 50,000 people to the town centre.”

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