New Beacon director’s plans for the future

A community environment and sustainable economy are at the top of the agenda for the new director at The Beacon.

James Roberts takes on the role with a ‘proven track record in the retail sector’, according to a spokesperson from the shopping centre.

The spokesperson said, “James wants to build on the centre’s excellent relationships with key organisations in the town and ensure The Beacon remains at the heart of the community as it steps out of the Covid lockdowns.”

Mr Roberts said, “We have seen amazing stories of fortitude, resilience and a determination to dust ourselves down and bounce back into life as swiftly as possible. We are supporting our retailers as they welcome back customers to The Beacon for a great experience.”

James Roberts - boss of The Beacon SUS-210827-094946001

According to the centre, Mr Roberts wants The Beacon to be the natural home for new community initiatives, independent retailers and the next generation of business entrepreneurs looking for a creative space where they can share ideas and boost the local economy.

They said Mr Roberts has also set his sights on delivering exciting projects for the centre, including the rebranding of The Hut community space, and welcoming innovative new retailers into the centre.

Mr Roberts said, “We have just seen the opening of Boom: Battle Bar on the first floor, which is a real first for Eastbourne.

“I want to look at dynamic new projects that will really add zest to The Beacon.

“I want to develop a community environment and sustainable economy that will attract new audiences in addition to our fantastic shoppers who support us on a weekly basis.

“The Beacon is integral to the town and I want people to have a positive experience from the moment they enter the centre to the second they leave.

“Eastbourne is a vibrant town with a great mix of events and entertainment.

“But it surprises me that there are still people outside the area who are unaware of our great offer. I will work tirelessly with our partners to shout about the opportunity and potential there is here.”

Mr Roberts said the number of daily visitors to the centre was high compared to other seaside towns, but he aims to welcome even more people into Eastbourne.

Mr Roberts started off his working life in property back in 2010 as he looked after sites between the Midlands and the south west of England.

While talking about his adventures before joining the centre, the spokesperson from the shopping centre said, “The travel bug bit, and James packed his rucksack, bought a one-way ticket to Mumbai and spent a year travelling around South East Asia and Australia. He took a job with shopping centre owner Westfield and knew within days that the mix of retail and property was his natural home.

“James travelled back to England and took charge of a property portfolio in Birmingham. He turned around the fortunes of a half empty shopping centre by developing a business and marketing strategy. The strategies worked and when he left in 2018 the arcade was 95 per cent let.

“In October 2018 he took over the helm of The Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Northampton on behalf of global property company JLL and was tasked with creating stability and restructuring brand services. As part of his integration into Northampton, James joined the board of three different business and academic groups and has been closely involved with future plans for the town centre.

“In his rare free time, James spends time with his partner Mark and their Beagle dog Barkley. Their current project is to transform their garden so it is fully sustainable, encouraging native species to grow.”