Plans to pedestrianise and introduce a public square in Eastbourne town centre have received mixed reviews.
The county and borough councils this week revealed their proposals to pedestrianise a chunk of Terminus Road between Bolton Road and Langney Road, and introduce a public space with a water fountain, benches, and feature paving.
Residents are encouraged to take part in a consultation on these ideas, launched online and in events starting at The Beacon next week.
Reacting to the news, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce boss Christina Ewbank said, “When Eastbourne was designed by William Cavendish, the 7th Duke of Devonshire, and his architect Henry Currey in 1859, there were no plans for a town square and so Eastbourne people have not been able to come together in town for events without costly road closures in place.
“Now shopping is changing and visitors to shopping centres want experiences to entertain them, this square could become a great community space with green trees and plants. People will be able to meet up, have coffee or lunch al fresco and play Scrabble or chess in the open air.
“This small square is long overdue but thanks to the BID and the Chamber, funding has been acquired and an attractive central community space is a real possibility.”
As part of the plans, the one-way sections of Bolton Road and Langney Road would be made two-way, with turning areas at each end.
Readers took to the Herald Facebook page @eastbournenews to express their views on the proposals.
Phil Adams said, “I’m in favour. Nice to see some modernisations being done to the town, no improvements have ever been done in my tender 40 years of life.” While Steve Fulbrook said, “Looks really good and needs to be done to finish the project off.”
However, some weren’t so impressed, and others suggested alternative ideas. Andy Baker said it would be better pedestrianising the bottom section from Seaside Road to the seafront.
And Allison Brachtvogel said, “More important to sort out the uneven and loose paving bricks between Bankers corner and Bolton Road. I am not elderly, but have almost fallen a few times.
“Repairs where the bricks have been replaced with tarmac look awful and need to be redone with secure bricks – would look much better.”
But others raised serious concerns about disabled access to Eastbourne town centre, due to the removal of disabled parking in that area.
Brian Day said, “This is NOT going to help disabled people with limited walking ability at all.” And Peter Watts said, “Some old geezers really have trouble walking and the section Bolton Road into Langney Road has a lot of disabled parking and taxi ranks.”
While Lucy Hancock suggested a shared space would be better with a 10mph speed limit. She said, “It’s currently a useful drop off point in the centre of town for people, disabled parking bays and loading useful as there is not enough parking in town stopping people shopping in Eastbourne due to lack of parking.”
Another potential issue was raised by Angela Pluess. She said, “Looks very pleasant but how to stop it becoming the loitering place for drinkers and shouters who seem to haunt that corner most of the time?”
East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council are holding three consultation events for members of the public to examine the ideas.
They will all be in The Beacon shopping centre near Lush between 10am and 4pm on November 20, 23, and 28.
Or visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay to take part in the online consultation.