Confusion over when Eastbourne’s Grand Parade will reopen

There has been some confusion over how long Eastbourne’s key seafront road will remain closed.

Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 9:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 10:15 am

Grand Parade has been shut for months as demolition work continues following the devastating Claremont Hotel fire.

A letter emerged online this week stating the road could reopen on April 12.

It is from East Sussex County Council and addressed to Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell.

Claremont hotel fire. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

The letter says, “I appreciate the section of Grand Parade surrounding the Claremont Hotel has been closed for some time now.

“However, the hotel needs to be demolished and until this is done the area remains unsafe for drivers and pedestrians.

“...At present we anticipate the road will be reopened on 12 April 2020.”

Claremont Hotel during demolition (Photo by Jon Rigby)

However East Sussex County Council says this is now unlikely and has apologised for any confusion the letter may have caused.

A spokesperson for the authority said, “Following the devastating fire at the Claremont Hotel, a road closure permit was put in place in Grand Parade.

“This permit is due to expire on April 12 but, in light of the significant amount of work that still needs to take place, we are in discussion with Eastbourne Borough Council about a possible extension to this permit.

“We appreciate the disruption the road closure is causing but the safety of members of the public is paramount.

Photo by Alan Fraser

“In a letter to Caroline Ansell MP, we suggested Grand Parade could reopen on April 12 but have since contacted her to advise her that this is now unlikely. We apologise for any confusion this may have caused.”

Eastbourne Borough Council would not confirm an expected date for the road’s reopening.

A spokesperson said it ‘isn’t possible’ to provide a timeline for the demolition of the hotel to be completed.

They said, “The complexity of the work on the site of the Claremont Hotel means that progress is slower than we would like, but this is not unexpected.

“Daish’s Holidays, the hotel owners, has numerous specialists working together to ensure the demolition and associated work is completed as quickly and as safely as possible.

“The devastating damage to the hotel building was exacerbated by recent storm force winds.

“As a consequence of this severe weather and the damage it did, a temporary support is needed for the neighbouring properties, to allow the demolition work to be completed.”

The spokesperson said these plans are ‘well advanced’ and the council expects the support to be in place very soon.

With that done and the remaining parts of the building demolished, the excavation and removal of the rubble and other debris from the site can take place.

The council spokesperson said, “It isn’t possible to provide a timeline on these steps at this stage, but all those involved are doing everything possible to achieve a partial re-opening of Grand Parade to vehicles, as soon as possible.”

Most of the remains of the Grade II* Listed building were brought down on February 14 after months of wrangling over the fire-ravaged hotel’s fate.

The demolition work was further complicated by the presence of asbestos in the old building and its proximity to the adjoining Burlington Hotel.

The Claremont Hotel was gutted by an enormous fire which broke out on November 22 last year.

Luckily no one was harmed, but the Listed building was all but destroyed.

It was initially hoped the Victorian facade could be preserved, but, when Storm Ciara brought chunks of the hotel crumbling down, the decision was made to raze it to the ground.

Updates are being posted on the council website at: www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/claremont