Out in the Field with Annemarie Field: Plans for Arndale... boring and samey?

DON’T look a gift horse in the mouth is what my mother used to tell me. And that age old saying came to mind as I read the letters bemoaning the artist’s impression for a new look Arndale Centre, which was unveiled recently.

I hear through the grapevine the existing branch of Next will be the gateway of the new mall leading to more shops and eateries, possibly over two floors.

But, not content with the fact that – if all goes according to plan – we will have an extended centre with exciting new shops and the horrible Diesel Alley will be hopefully pedestrianised, some people are saying the plans for the centre are boring, “samey” and they want to see more of an iconic design.

Hmmm. The last time somebody said Eastbourne needed an “award-winning iconic building” we ended up with the ugly blot on the landscape that is the Towner. And look at what a horrendous money-sucking white elephant that has turned into.

NO SOONER have the children broken up for the long summer holidays than everywhere you turn in Eastbourne’s shops are Back to School deals on everything from uniforms to pencil cases. With that in mind, I bet it won’t be long before the very first Christmas cards and rolls of wrapping paper go on sale – possibly even as early as mid-August. I wonder which store will be first?

HOORAH! IT looks as if the Eastbourne carnival procession could be revived and will be snaking its way along the seafront next year.

As a child growing up, the carnival was the highlight of our summer holidays. Well, that plus trips to Treasure Island, a knickerbocker glory on special occasions, a visit to the Model Village at the Redoubt and then in later years Monday night’s disco at Dixieland.

I loved the carnival and took part in it many times – as a Brownie Guide the first time, a YMCA Youth Training Scheme trainee in my teens and then as a cub reporter when the newspaper entered a float one year. Participants spent weeks making costumes and decorating lorries and any other mode of transport they could travel on, and the whole town – plus holidaymakers – would turn out to watch with spectators lining the route from one end of the seafront to the other, throwing money in buckets for a chosen charity.

I think it’s a great idea to bring it back – it almost makes me want to start practising my baton twirling!