EXCITING plans to entice 26 new retailers into the heart of Eastbourne have been given a rousing welcome by the community.
More than 5,000 people attended a public exhibition last month to see the Eastbourne Arndale Centre’s bold plans for a £65 million extension.
Nearly 1,000 questionnaires were completed and a massive 83 per cent said they supported the extension and investment in the town centre as a further catalyst towards the regeneration of Eastbourne.
The stunning two-storey glass-fronted design was also praised by visitors to the exhibition.
A total of 60 per cent said the design was either good, very good or excellent.
The new extension along the Arndale Centre side of Terminus Road towards the railway station should provide a great boost to all town centre shops.
More than 50 per cent of visitors to the exhibition said the new range of shops would probably or definitely increase their visits to the centre of town.
Simon Russian, senior fund manager at Legal & General, one of the investors in PRLP, said, “We were very anxious to ensure we have a good number of people attending the exhibition and I was delighted that 5,000 people took the trouble to come along.
“The views back from the community have been excellent.
“People were so supportive and expressed real enthusiasm for the extension and the principle of better shops, more choice and a wider retail offer in Eastbourne town centre.”
Eastbourne Borough Council has also shown strong support for an enhanced shopping centre offer.
Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council David Tutt, said, “It is very encouraging that so many people have taken the time to share their views and demonstrate such a high level of local support for the plans.”
Opposition leader David Elkin said, “It is perfectly clear that people want an exciting new shopping centre in the town.
“I am delighted that the proposals have received the unequivocal support of so many residents.”
Formal plans for the extension to the Arndale Centre are due to go before the council in early 2012, with a view to completing the scheme by late 2015.
During the exhibition 81 per cent of people supported changes in Terminus Road.
They include wider and improved pavements, bus stops moved towards Bankers Corner and along Cornfield Road, provision of new bus stops outside the railway station and new street furniture and signage.
A total of 189 questionnaires were completed with 81 per cent of local people saying they supported the proposals.
Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Stagecoach and Brighton & Hove Buses have been working in partnership to look at ways of enhancing the pedestrian environment in Terminus Road and will be using the feedback from the consultation to help shape the final plans.