Eastbourne landmark will not open this summer

A historic attraction on Eastbourne’s seafront will not open this summer – and it could be ‘repurposed’ in the future.

The Redoubt is a circular coastal defence fort on the seafront. Built in 1805 as part of preparations for the Napoleonic Wars, the building is now owned by Eastbourne Borough Council.

It was one of a chain of many Martello towers built on the Sussex coast. Although it was manned with cannons, it was never actually needed against the French.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The fort used to be open to the public but closed in 2019 and currently has boards up covering the entrance.

Eastbourne Redoubt won't be reopening this summer

Resident Keith Burton said he’s enjoyed visiting the fort for a number of years and wants to see the site open again.

A spokesperson for the council said, “Like a lot of Eastbourne’s heritage assets, it does however, need significant ongoing maintenance works to ensure it meets modern standards for public use.

“The council continues to look at ways to fund these essential works, including government grants for important heritage assets. Various options are being explored to ensure the Redoubt can be protected for the country and for future generations.”

Councillor Margaret Bannister, lead cabinet member for tourism and enterprise, told Mr Burton the fort is undergoing ‘significant electrical work’ so it won’t be open this summer.

She said, “Due to the inherently damp nature of the building it is no longer conducive to continuing as a museum.

“Exhibits were deteriorating and needing continuing restoration which in turn meant that it could not continue with its museum status.

“Much of the military memorabilia that was on loan was returned to the relevant regiments, other exhibits were put into storage.

“Those archaeological finds not currently in storage are being used in various exhibitions at the Beachy Head Centre and in schools.

“We are looking at repurposing the Redoubt and have had interest from various companies.

“We haven’t gone out to the market yet but are looking at the options which could include using different casements for different uses.

“We are also looking at the feasibility of putting in disabled access down into the parade area.”

Read more: