We’ve lost sight of the basics on shopping in Eastbourne

From: Angela HomewoodVictoria Drive, Eastbourne

Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:28 am
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:33 am

I read with interest your report on the views of the new director of The Beacon in last week’s Herald click here to read.

I very rarely cast my views to anyone feeling that, like most of the general public, not many people are interested. Having had a long career in retail starting as a Saturday sales person in Woolworths (where Poundland now is) in the 60s and ending at as a training and recruitment manager for Closs and Hamblin, also being an Eastbourne-born resident, I feel justified in sending my views to you.

Mr Roberts is very clear on what he wants for the centre but I would respectfully suggest that he may want to ask residents and customers what they would like.

Eastbourne town centre 17/12/20 The Beacon SUS-201217-130036001

Back in the day (and your paper has published photos of times gone by), Eastbourne was a thriving shopping centre.

There were lots of individual shops, no ‘shopping centre’ and the town was a joy to shop in. Fast forward to now and outside is an eyesore in places and the centre seems, wrongly in my view, to be the main focus.

While I realise that Mr Roberts is not, and never can be, responsible for all that happens I do urge him to think carefully. The tourists go home at the end of the summer and the shops rely on residents and Christmas shoppers, when the time comes, in the winter. It is true that the demographics of Eastbourne have changed and the age profile is now younger than it used to be but everyone needs the basics in life and since we have lost most of our department stores, the ‘basics’ have all but disappeared for a lot of customers.

What we need is retailing and a ‘great experience’ for all ages, stylish fashion and clothing basics, great restaurants and cafes, food, home and leisure, gifts and novelties and a whole lot more.

Eastbourne council and the centre management will need to work hard to attract the big retailers to the town and there seems to be a long way to go. No- one can help companies going into administration but there are plenty of opportunities still out there. They want our money and we want to spend it!

We have a wonderful seafront and a clean town (pre-pandemic, now very scruffy in places) some beautiful countryside and some great facilities, but the town centre is letting us down.

I shop online but I want the whole shopping experience I used to enjoy all over again, and I haven’t wanted to do that in Eastbourne in a very long time.