Herald Opinion: New Eastbourne store a very welcome newcomer

So a store named Lewis is finally coming to town.

Not the John Lewis that would have had shoppers shouting from the rooftops, but still a very welcome newcomer all the same in the shape of Lewis Home Retail Limited.

This is the Lewis that stepped in this week to secure Eastbourne’s TJ Hughes store and guarantee the jobs of 55 people.

The protection of those workers’ livelihoods is fantastic news, but just as crucial is the rescue of a key pillar of trading at the top end of Terminus Road.

We had always believed that the Eastbourne store was one of the more profitable and so it has proved. Impressively, Eastbourne ranks as the only town alongside three major city stores in the buy-out package.

In the short-term, this has to be a tremendous boost to the town’s fortunes. In the medium, there remains much work to be done in enhancing the retail offering at the top end of the town if this story is not to go full circle.

For all the efforts so far made, parts of Seaside remain as drab as ever and the prospect of a flourishing shopping corridor from the seafront down to the Arndale Centre remains far from reality.

The town centre plan should make this an absolute priority and tackle it as robustly as it must the issue of banning buses altogether from Diesel Alley.

WORRYING news this week that the council is considering Manor Gardens within Gildredge Park as a possible site for a new skatepark.

The gardens have always been a beautiful tranquil haven in the middle of a bustling residential and retail area.

Like Motcombe Park nearby, Manor Gardens is more suited to calm quietness than other more interactive open spaces in Eastbourne like Princes Park, Seaside Rec, Old Town Rec and Hampden Park, where all members of the community can mix together.

Even its adjoining neighbour Gildredge Park, with its vast expanse of space, could more easily absorb a skatepark. We are not denying the fact that Old Town and Upperton need such a facility. But surely Manor Gardens is not the place.