Eastbourne group campaigns to save TJ Hughes building from demolition

The Eastbourne Society is campaigning to stop the demolition of the 1925 TJ Hughes building.

Last month the society wrote to the Herald explaining it was ‘appalled’ by plans to knock down the former TJ Hughes building and dubbed it ‘nothing short of vandalism’.

The Eastbourne Society has slammed the plans to raze the building, in Terminus Road, to the ground and replace it with a mixture of flats and shops.

The building, which dates back to 1925, has been empty since TJ Hughes closed down in May 2019.

TJ Hughes shut in May 2019. SUS-211215-111101001

A society spokesperson said, “We are appalled by the proposals for the demolition and replacement of the former TJ Hughes building.”

Now the society has set up an online petition to stop the demolition.

Proposed plans submitted to Eastbourne Borough Council. SUS-211215-111111001

The petition page says, “We want to save the 1925 former TJ Hughes building on Terminus Road from demolition. Under a current planning application the owner, the Rachel Trust, is looking to completely demolish the building and replace it with a mixed-use faceless modern block.

“The proposals call this block ‘Burlington Corner’ but it belongs in an Anywheres Ville clone town and is utterly disregarding of the character and heritage of Eastbourne that the name implies.

“We support the principle of a comprehensive mixed-use regeneration of the site but not the also-ran, off-the-peg architecture. This building is a landmark in the Seafront Conservation Area (which was deliberately extended around this building to give it extra protection) and contributes hugely to our town centre’s identity.

“The council’s target decision date is February 9 2022 - we must act now.”

Society members say they are meeting with the developers on January 11 and they hope the meeting will ‘show them that the public is behind us’.

Set up on December 9, the petition already has more than 2,500 signatures.

A spokesperson for the society said, “The huge response to our petition (over 2,000 and still climbing) has shown how much the people of Eastbourne care about this beautiful 1925 department store building. Its contribution to the special character of the town is given by many as the reason for signing.

Objections to this application are two-fold - the demolition shows disregard for the value of Eastbourne’s heritage and its vital role in promoting economic recovery, whilst the proposed building shows a lack of respect for the role of architectural design in reflecting locality and culture, in helping to define all that is unique about Eastbourne.

“We, the people of Eastbourne, don’t want a town that looks like ‘Anytown’. We want Eastbourne to look like Eastbourne and we want our beautiful buildings including the TJ Hughes department store to be treasured and repurposed for future generations.”

The developers were approached for a comment.