I wish to comment on a couple of inaccuracies in the article on the Redoubt last week which can’t go unchallenged [Veteran’s call to keep military memorabilia - Herald, February 5]. Firstly, there are currently no plans to rehouse the military collections within a purpose-built facility in the Pavilion Gardens. This the whole point of David Stevens’ concerns.
At a public meeting on November 26 a council spokesperson clearly stated that the new facility would have no room to store the military collections and that the new museum will only be telling the ‘story of Eastbourne’. He further stated under questioning that if the military collections want to tell a wider county story then maybe they should consider a new home.
Secondly, the council spokesperson stated in the article that ‘extensive research had been undertaken with local people about what they want to see in an Eastbourne museum’.
To be very generous, this is being grossly economic with the truth. The survey on which the research was based was deeply flawed, lacked transparency and was totally undemocratic. It started as a survey for people to complete at the exit to the first public meeting and only included one question ‘do you want a new museum for Eastbourne’ with a menu of local stories to choose from. There was no mention of the military collections . It wasn’t stated that the survey could also be found online nor was this mentioned in any of the press releases by the Heritage Department.
It was only at the November meeting when the spokesperson declared that they had more than 700 replies and that 97 per cent of respondents wanted a ‘Story of Eastbourne’ told, that questions were asked.
No detail was forthcoming and after considerable searching, the survey was later found buried on the EBC website and again it was the same survey as before with no closing date for the survey. Once the ex-service community started to complete this survey stating their opposition to the proposal, the survey was suddenly taken down, what a surprise! Yet still they trot out this myth that this is what the people of Eastbourne want. What were the final figures?
No one has published these or what organisations were approached. If this proposal is continued with, I think there are good enough grounds for the Trustees of these collections to consider a judicial review.
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