OUT IN THE FIELD: Latest on Eastbourne Pier sculpture and the Birthday shout out

eastbourne pier fire SUS-140730-204739001
eastbourne pier fire SUS-140730-204739001

Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of the devastating fire on Eastbourne Pier and it got me thinking about the memorial sculpture which was to be situated nearby. The Forged by Flame object made from materials reclaimed from the 2014 blaze including 20,000 charred two pence pieces is still nowhere to be seen. After a design competition, it was selected from four shortlisted entries, allocated a budget of £20,000 and was to be funded from a £2 million grant pledged by former PM David Cameron when he visited Eastbourne shortly after the fire. The sculpture was due to be in place on the seafront by summer 2017 but alas, nothing has been done and the piles of tuppences are still sitting there, presumably waiting for attention from a soldering iron. The last time we asked Eastbourne council what was happening, we were told that finding a location was proving tricky after an initial plan to stick it in the middle of the Carpet Gardens was, thankfully, ruled out. But what about the plot at the end of the Carpet Gardens opposite the entrance into Terminus Road? In the past it has been used for specialist displays but seems to me at least to be the most obvious spot for it – within sight of the pier. The ethos behind the sculpture, a twisting flame, is to acknowledge the pier fire on July 30 2014 and the response from the community in the days, weeks and months afterwards. It shouldn’t be taking years for a memorial to be installed.

Following on from the fiasco last week with the road sign in Gildredge Road directing people to the non-existent law courts and police station, news reaches me that a council map available to visitors at the Town Hall is also rather outdated. The Eastbourne Magistrates Court in Old Orchard Road is listed as number three on the map but of course that isn’t there anymore since it closed three years ago. In addition, all the main bus stops are still marked as being in Terminus Road and slap bang in the middle is the Arndale Centre which is of course now to be known as The Beacon. The good news however is that following the photograph which appeared of the aforementioned road sign in last week’s column, an email landed in my inbox this week from our friends at East Sussex County Council. “This is an old road sign which was relocated as part of the Eastbourne Town Centre Improvement Scheme,” read the message adding, “We’re grateful to the Herald for pointing out that the information on the sign is out of date and we will be arranging for it to be replaced.” As grateful, I am sure, as Churchill Homes is for pointing out that Burlington Lodge should have actually been named Allingham Lodge as was originally intended...

Finally, birthday greetings to three very special people this week: Greg Allchorn is blowing out 60 candles on his cake in Florence; Simon Vincent is 50-years-old and celebrating with a party and my lovely Darcie Ennis hits the big 18. Happy birthday!