eastbourne pier fire SUS-140730-204739001

OUT IN THE FIELD: Latest on Eastbourne Pier sculpture and the Birthday shout out

Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of the devastating fire on Eastbourne Pier and it got me thinking about the memorial sculpture which was to be situated nearby. The Forged by Flame object made from materials reclaimed from the 2014 blaze including 20,000 charred two pence pieces is still nowhere to be seen. After a design competition, it was selected from four shortlisted entries, allocated a budget of £20,000 and was to be funded from a £2 million grant pledged by former PM David Cameron when he visited Eastbourne shortly after the fire. The sculpture was due to be in place on the seafront by summer 2017 but alas, nothing has been done and the piles of tuppences are still sitting there, presumably waiting for attention from a soldering iron. The last time we asked Eastbourne council what was happening, we were told that finding a location was proving tricky after an initial plan to stick it in the middle of the Carpet Gardens was, thankfully, ruled out. But what about the plot at the end of the Carpet Gardens opposite the entrance into Terminus Road? In the past it has been used for specialist displays but seems to me at least to be the most obvious spot for it – within sight of the pier. The ethos behind the sculpture, a twisting flame, is to acknowledge the pier fire on July 30 2014 and the response from the community in the days, weeks and months afterwards. It shouldn’t be taking years for a memorial to be installed.

Road sign giving directions to the Law Courts in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190515-131144008

Sign in Eastbourne town centre is driving me round the bend

I am sure I am not the only one to be slightly amused by the rather large road sign which has taken pride of place at the bottom of Gildredge Road by the railway station. The sign outside the London and County Pub tells drivers they can go straight ahead for the town centre and ring road or turn left for the Town Hall, Police Station, Law Courts, Industrial Estates, Hospital, Parking and Railway Station. But hang on a minute, rewind back. The law courts in Old Orchard Road closed up three years ago with everyone now having to hike it over to Hastings. And the police station in Grove Road – along with its wonderful social club – closed some nine years ago. Admittedly, there is a front counter at 1 Grove Road where the police moved in with Eastbourne council to “share services” (cut costs). But you would be hard pressed to call it a police station. The signs were installed by the county council and what a complete waste of time and money that has been. It’s enough to drive you round the bend.

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