Eastbourne Bandstand: £750k maintenance programme starts

A sum of £750,000 is to be spent on Eastbourne Bandstand so it can be opened again to the public.

Eastbourne Borough Council confirmed the ‘£750,000 repairs and maintenance programme’ is starting.

The venue is a ‘much-loved local asset’ and this essential work will ensure it can open again in Spring 2023, the council spokesperson said.

Most recently, Friends of Eastbourne Bandstand CIC has been formed. A CIC is a non-charitable limited company which exists to benefit a community.

Eastbourne Bandstand undergoing restoration work. Photo taken 12/7/22. L-R: Keith Delves (Consultant Surveyor Eastbourne Borough Council), Tim Dashwood (Faithful+Gould) and Chris Connelley (Specialist Advisor/Conservation for Eastbourne & Lewes District Councils).

Despite this £750k being spent, costs to fully restore it will be in excess of £12 million pounds.

However, Eastbourne council bosses have said it would be a ‘waste of money’ to spend millions of pounds on fixing the town’s bandstand before the Environment Agency’s £100m coastal flood defence project is nailed down.

The project, which aims to keep the town safe from rising sea levels for the next 100 years, will bring ‘major changes’ to our seafront, said the council.

As a result, they believe spending millions of pounds of public money on the structure before knowing how the new layout of the promenade will impact it would not make sense.

The bandstand was built in 1935 and nearly a century of bearing the brunt of winter storms and destructive waves has taken its toll.

Pictures show how the internal steel structure is vulnerable to saltwater and has corroded over many years.

Councillor Helen Burton, cabinet member for property and heritage assets and one of the directors of the CIC, said: “The bandstand is one of our most vulnerable structures because of its exposed position on the seafront.

“In addition to the work the council is doing to restore it and the community support, I’m also campaigning to encourage the government to fund the maintenance of our nationally important heritage assets, so that the burden does not fall entirely on local taxpayers.”

Another director of the CIC Chris Leach said: “The bandstand is important to our town’s residents as well as visitors, and this nationally significant building needs to remain an icon of the town.”