Wish Tower memorial plan for Eastbourne bombing victims abandoned

An artist's impression of the memorial earmarked for the Wish Tower site
An artist's impression of the memorial earmarked for the Wish Tower site

The planned Wish Tower memorial, designed to bear the names of Eastbourne residents killed in Second World War bombing raids, has been abandoned.

Organisers blamed a clash at the site between the memorial project and Eastbourne Borough Council’s proposed new restaurant there.

John Boyle, Trustee of The Eastbourne Civilian War Memorial Trust, said, “After 18 months of work to obtain approval from Historic England and planning permission, the memorial trustees were informed the restaurant would impinge on the site.”

He said illustrations from the council’s architects showed the outlook from the memorial would be the side of the restaurant. “Who would back such a plan?” asked Mr Boyle.

He said the project to honour the 174 townsfolk who died in the raids would have cost in the region of £140,000. He was confident funding could have been achieved. Mr Boyle said, “The disappointed relatives of those killed may be comforted to know that the Eastbourne business community most strongly and most generously supported the memorial.”

A borough council spokesperson said, “We have developed a revised design for the memorial which gives an uninterrupted outlook of the South Downs through the viewing feature and would work well with the new Wish Tower Restaurant. The council has shared this design with the trustees and offered to fund the resubmission of a new planning application to achieve this. However, if the trustees wish to go ahead with the design that has already been given planning permission, that is entirely their prerogative.

“Whatever the final design solution, the council remains committed to ensuring a memorial is incorporated into the Wish Tower site.”

But Mr Boyle said the feasibility of a memorial on a site away from the Wish Tower is now being considered.

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