Eastbourne’s Devonshire Quarter wins award

Eastbourne’s Devonshire Quarter picked up an accolade at the Beautiful South Awards last night (March 4) for its ‘first class’ conference facilities.

Congress Theatre and Welcome building in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200319-110718008
Congress Theatre and Welcome building in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200319-110718008

The newly-refurbished venue, which includes the Congress Theatre auditorium and new Welcome Building exhibition centre, was recognised for its conference facilities, first class service and ethical management as it won the business events venue of the year award.

The win was celebrated as part of an online ceremony, organised by Tourism South East, with the Conference Eastbourne team picking up the virtual award.

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The venue also enjoyed triple success collecting two further awards for the on-site DQ Terrace Bar and Café and Stage Door Pub with both winning Commended in their respective restaurant, café & tearoom of the year and pub of the year categories.

The result places them within the top four pubs and top five eateries across the south east.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Councillor Margaret Bannister said, “We are over the moon and couldn’t be more proud to receive this award. The transformation of the Devonshire Quarter has been an incredible project and our conference team truly are first class.

“From large scale vaccination centres to essential meetings and training, our facilities have continued to run throughout the pandemic in line with government guidance. We are pleased however to see the return of our larger scale conference business on the horizon, indeed the phones have been incredibly busy in recent weeks and we can’t wait to welcome back our many happy clients and delegates.”

The Devonshire Quarter conference, sporting and entertainment complex has undergone a £54 million transformation in recent years.

The extensive redevelopment includes the 1,655 seater Congress Theatre auditorium, one of the largest in the south east, along with the Devonshire Park Theatre, Winter Garden, International Lawn Tennis Centre, and the addition of the locker room meeting facilities and new Welcome Building with state-of-the-art exhibition halls, café, outdoor plaza and breakout space.

The transformation included a number of improved accessibility and sustainable measures from solar panel generated electricity to a motion-sensored lighting system, level access and energy efficient glazing.

The restoration of the Grade II* listed Congress Theatre also garnered a Sussex Heritage Trust award late last year.

Due to government guidance, the facilities are currently only available for business, educational and training events for up to 30 people, which are deemed essential and cannot be delayed or held online.

Larger events will soon be possible from May 17 with the government roadmap allowing events of up 50 per cent capacity up to a maximum of 1,000 delegates, and the release of restrictions potentially from June 21.

The Covid-secure venue has both COVID-Ready and Good to Go accreditation with extra measures in place to maintain safety.