Recurring theme of bad decisions in governing Eastbourne

From: E Loughby, Boscawen Close, Eastbourne

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 3:40 pm

I was going to write in following a particularly dreary walk along the seafront and noticing just how depressingly run-down it has become.

Whilst looking online at the Herald’s stories before typing this up I was more than dismayed to see that the council has been granted nearly £20 million to drag itself out of this Covid quagmire but has decided to squander it on inconsequential gimmicks and projects that are miles out of town.

Firstly, what have we got left on Eastbourne’s beaches that we could call an attraction? The pier is in a sorry state, the bandstand is in ruins, groups of street drinkers (drunk by midday) heckle passers-by with no provocation at all. I must say we have a lovely selection of cafés on the seafront and they certainly do not deserve to be mentioned in this letter alongside the rest as they truly are a delight but no tourist has ever picked a destination because it has a few nice cafés!

Eastbourne Town Hall SUS-210216-141612001

We’re a seaside town and what do we have to compete with other coastal tourist locations? Why would people pick us over somewhere else whilst we’re all scrabbling to be the next big ‘staycation’ town in light of Covid and the demonisation of pollution-producing flights abroad?

We have a chance to level up and the council are spending it on paving a road! Wonderful, tourists will then be able to walk from the groups of drunks haunting our empty town centre to the groups of drunks laying on our beach.

It almost seems intentional, that they’ve gone out of their way to burn this money in front of us all as some bizarre taunt. Are they trying to get fired? Have the Lib Dems and the Tories finally had enough of the downward spiral they’ve been sending the town on and now they want out? I’m not certain there are any promising opponents waiting in the wings to save the town either but surely it can’t be hard to see who’s consistently been on the important committees leading this series of woeful events both in the ranks of councillors and at the executive level of the government employees. Some of these people have overseen this recurring theme of awful decisions and catastrophic failures for a considerable time and continue to keep their job or get re-elected.

Who is keeping them there? Who is actually benefitting from an £11 million spend up on the Downs? I can’t imagine it’ll be many of the youngsters in this town or even many of us oldies. I do hope I will be proved wrong but this “world-class cultural and education centre” ought to be the answer to this town’s prayers if it’s going to justify taking that much money out of the pot. We could be building more affordable housing, developing our business estates or even put a “world-class attraction” in the town centre instead with that money.

I asked the council workers on the seafront if they’d be seeing any of this money and they said no, it’s for new projects. They don’t even know when the bandstand is supposed to be getting fixed! If the council is announcing spending projects like this but still doesn’t have a plan for much-needed repairs on their landmarks, do they actually have any plans to repair them at all? Have they forgotten we have a seafront?

I have sadly found myself looking at this all in a very negative view but maybe I should be more optimistic.

Perhaps this new centre on the Downs will breathe life into the town and create plenty of jobs directly up there and indirectly through extra visitors staying nearby to it. With Brighton Uni deciding to pull out of the town maybe we’ll have no opportunities for the sites in the Meads with tourism in mind. With all the students moving out of rented accommodation and demand dropping drastically in the town centre, perhaps my children will finally be able to afford a mortgage in this town.