Will development solve problems?

Isn’t it wonderful that a retail property developer is interested in an expansion of the Arndale Centre at a time when retail growth is very patchy?

Is this the third time this proposal has been put forward more or less unchanged apart from a tacit admission that it will not include a department store?

Is this in tune with the way forward for retail?

I’m thinking of buying a camera and one that caught my eye was the Fujifilm T200 which Jessops in the Arndale Centre has on offer at £259.

Luckily I had my smartphone to hand and quickly discovered that Amazon has the same camera at £119 with free delivery. Bit of a no-brainer, isn’t it?

All the big retailers have thriving Internet shopping sites, and many follow Argos’ approach with either home delivery or in-store collection. Fashion sales online have been a huge growth area, largely because they can offer high street clothes at much lower prices.

My worry is that if the economy doesn’t improve then the proposed development will make most of Terminus Road seem a retail desert.

Do we need grand schemes only really suited to national retailers or more localism?

I suggest the latter is more in keeping with our town. The big retailers can always fallback on their Internet shopping sites.

What does Eastbourne do with empty shops? Not a lot, if current experience is anything to go by.

The Seaside end of Terminus Road deserves urgent attention as it is the gateway for holidaymakers from the seafront into the Town Centre.

What about a freestanding steel and glass canopy for a pedestrianised Terminus Road between the seafront and TJ Hughes to transform this into an all-weather café quarter, something that would make investors take a more positive view of the Co-op and TJ Hughes sites?

This wouldn’t be an overly costly project for the Council to find financing and can make for a showcase entry point to the Town Centre.

The Railway Station end of Terminus Road looks very derelict with many shabby empty properties.

What about compulsory purchase of the property between Gildredge Road and Ivy Terrace to form a town centre market square which could be used for events, a farmer’s market, a regular market, etc?

Something that catches the attention of all the huge number of visitors disembarking from trains on a visit to Eastbourne.

In both cases, town centre market square and cafe quarter, this would encourage local businesses to develop rather than national chain stores and to employ local people to offer local food and produce, and to encourage local entrepreneurs to invest in the future of the town.

Do we really want a large financial and property conglomerate to own the town centre and drive out local business owners?

I don’t think so and our council would be well-advised to step carefully in surrendering the town to big faceless business.

Tony Crooks

Mendip Avenue