Like Mr Goldsmith, I was at the same poorly attended meeting on the future of the Redoubt, with the majority of the audience appearing to consist of volunteers from the Redoubt itself and like-minded organisations (hardly a representative meeting). Not only was I shocked but also angered by the dismissive answers given to questions from the floor by the council officer giving the presentation.
When asked by an audience member to substantiate his much trumpeted statistic of 97 per cent in favour of a local history museum only, he waffled on about it being very wide and how impressed the Heritage Lottery Fund people were by its extent. Before anyone can make such sweeping statements the audience should have been shown a slide or given a handout showing the methodology used, groups, organisations or individuals involved in the consultation, questions asked and responses received. Unless this evidence is produced you can’t make informed decisions. This so-called consultation appears to have been the usual public sector box ticking exercise to satisfy the relevant government department and the Heritage Lottery Fund that consultation has indeed taken place.
He also dismissed the suggestion that the military and Eastbourne stories could be told as one with the statement that the council will only fund a story of Eastbourne and that if the military collections want their story told, they might want to consider a new home. Eastbourne has housed one of the best military collections in the South East, outside of London, and has done so for many years. Do the people of Eastbourne want to lose this precious asset, because once it’s gone it will never come back and as Mr Goldsmith has suggested, they could be left funding and subsidising a White Elephant.
Maybe your paper should consider running its own consultation to see what the people of Eastbourne really want with the following question and options – if the Redoubt Fortress was to close and be replaced by a new purpose built museum, would you like it to either:
a) Only show the local ‘Story of Eastbourne’.
b) Have one story showing the rich stories of Eastbourne and the military in Sussex.
The results could then be published with a much wider representation.
St Helen’s Road, Hastings
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