Vandals have destroyed stone lattice work at an Eastbourne beauty spot which was built by soldiers returning from the horrors of the First World War.
More than 100 people have now signed a petition calling on Eastbourne council to repair the damage to the structure in the Italian Gardens on the seafront after it was vandalised in June.
Historians believe the gardens were built in the Italianate style by unemployed Eastbourne men returning from the horrors of the First World War to help them regain a sense of purpose in their future lives.
Terrie Rintoul from the Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens said the gardens had become vulnerable.
“For many years there have been problems with anti-social behaviour and rough sleepers,” said Terrie. “Cans thrown into the undergrowth at the back attract more cans, graffiti attracts more graffiti. The ‘stage structure’ is regularly used as a lavatory, fires are lit in the corners and so it goes on. But, in June this year the gardens suffered its worst damage with the destruction of the stone lattice work running across one of the windows of the ‘stage’ structure. We can’t help wondering whether those inflicting this senseless damage would have still done it if they had realised the history of the place.”
Eastbourne council has agreed to the repairs but a timetable of work hasn’t been put in place.
Terrie said, “The Italian Gardens featured in many postcards and were prized alongside Royal Parade, Marine Parade, the Carpet Gardens, Beachy Head and Holywell itself. We want to improve them in time to give them the 100th birthday present they deserve in 2022 and have asked the council to thin out the trees and shrubs, carry out essential repairs to the structures and replant climbing roses in the pergolas.”