An open day is to be held at 12th century Langney Priory, probably the oldest building in Eastbourne, on Saturday October 27 between 10am and 4pm.
Langney Priory was built before 1121 and can be found in Etchingham Road. It is a Grade II* listed building but is one of Eastbourne’s best-kept secrets, with many residents in the town unaware of its existence.
The open day will give local people, including Eastbourne Mayor Cllr Gill Mattock, the chance to see inside the historic building and hear about future plans to turn it into a top training facility to support the local hospitality industry and to provide accommodation for visitors to Eastbourne and surrounding area.
There will be a presentation given at 11.30am and 2.30pm by Charlie Turner, director of Sussex-based company EU Eco-Hub CIC, who will outline the restoration project which includes turning the building into a bed and breakfast facility with the consecrated chapel being used as a wedding venue. There would also be a range of accommodation including shepherds’ huts and glamping.
The Priory would provide local people with training and employment and help those in disadvantaged groups. Archaeological and heritage research work would also involve the community, local schools and colleges.
In order to finance the plans, a holding company Historic Langney Priory, has been set up to enable local people to buy shares for as little as £50.
Charlie Turner said, “We hope as many people as possible will come along and see the Priory and hear about our project that will breathe life into one of Eastbourne’s oldest buildings for generations to come. The idea of the project is initially to provide hard to reach groups with the opportunity to learn construction and restoration skills and once completed to work in partnership with local educational establishments to give their students first-hand experience of the hospitality industry.”
David Tutt, ward councillor and leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said, “This is a great opportunity for local people to come along and see a chapter of history that has largely gone unnoticed despite its age and uniqueness.”