Herald comment: Devonshire Park plan an impressive blueprint for the future

The dreary scaffolding which has surrounded the Congress Theatre for the past three years has served as a long-lasting reminder of the lack of progress over the future of Devonshire Park.

For years, dreams have been hatched for this idyllic part of Eastbourne – plans have been discussed, ideas have been floated, but in all that time the scaffolding has remained and progress has stalled.

Now there is hope.

This week the council has unveiled what amounts to an impressive blueprint for the future of Devonshire Park worth up to £35 million.

This masterplan, if it comes off, will transform the centre into a beacon of prosperity with refurbishment of both the Congress Theatre and Winter Garden, an extensive facelift of the tennis centre and the creation of a new conference centre.

At a time of economic treading water, and coming on the back of the planned £70 million investment in the Arndale Centre, this refreshing development surely demonstrates that Eastbourne is going places and means business.

The caveat remains, can the plan be delivered? The Devonshire Park proposal is mouth-watering in its concept. For example, here is Eastbourne’s opportunity to vie with Brighton and other areas of the UK as a premier conference location.

The proof of the pudding will be in the funding and the council’s ability to find backers who believe and share in this wonderful vision.