THE inevitable Airbourne approacheth. However, rather than simply be a misery-guts this year, I feel there could be a good opportunity to actually bring trade to the smaller shops around the town centre which we’ve missed out on over the decades the show has been with us.
With reference to those who come to Eastbourne by train for the weekend, they automatically flock straight up Terminus Road to get to the seafront.
We need to stress that’s not the only way, especially getting to the attractions on the Western Lawns.
Some folks look up details of Airbourne on the internet. If a map of ‘Where best to view Airbourne’ was on the first page of the website, tourists wouldn’t automatically go straight up Terminus Road.
Those heading for the Western Lawns could be directed through Little Chelsea, up South Street and past Devonshire Park, the Towner and the Congress.
Others could go towards the Pier and be directed past Susans Road and Cavendish Place Shops.
From there, others still could be directed to the less chaotic Redoubt end of town to discover the Redoubt, Fort Fun and the Sovereign Centre which a lot of people who drive to the Five-Acre Field park-and-ride miss-out on.
Even better, there are plenty of parking spaces on Beachy Head to ease town-centre congestion.
The Beachy Head pub certainly could do with extra custom and the extra revenue from the car parks would be much appreciated insofar as keeping our council tax down.
As far as car drivers are concerned, I have no answers apart from the Beachy Head one.
If they wish to bake in their cars and take an hour to get from Leaf Hall to Bird’s Eye Roundabout (Tesco roundabout to the younger whipper-snappers!), well, that’s up to them.
If I watch Airbourne at all, it will probably be atop Whitley Bridge - a wonderfully tourist-free zone.
But there’s more!
Even Terminus Road is suffering. We haven’t got an area like The Lanes or the North Laine area of Brighton or the Old Town in Hastings and anyone visiting Eastbourne would be forgiven for thinking it’s just Terminus Road.
If we could persuade McDonalds to relocate to Cavendish Place, it would attract more to that area of town and bring business to the shops along that road and Susans Road.
The area could have a lick of paint to tart it up, as in Seaside Road and the Seasid and Meads-bound buses which normally stop at the north side ’diesel alley’ could have stops just past the station car park in Ashford Road and have their town centre stops in Susans Road, whereas the Old Town and Hailsham buses could keep their normal stops in Terminus Road as a one-way system but the south pavement passing C&H and Via could be widened.
Maybe a few of the newer shops in Terminus Road could be demolished to give us a proper town square?
I’m struggling for thinking of any decent answers to Eastbourne’s transportation and congestion problems due to the lack of forward planning during building and layout of the town the best part of a century ago but at least I am trying, unlike a lot of businessmen and politicians who actually do have the power and influence to make changes for the better (but normally act in a more retrograde way).
As I say to people who quote to me ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’, I normally reply: ‘I know, but I’m doing my damnedest to knock up a passable pigskin wallet!’.