Eastbourne Seafront Strategy explained: ‘We'll do our best to do what the people of Eastbourne want’

Eastbourne Borough Council is refreshing its Corporate Plan 2020/24 to include a Seafront Strategy.

The strategy covers the whole seafront from Beachy Head to Sovereign Harbour.

Council leader David Tutt said, “The wording 'Seafront Strategy' brings it all together but it's always been in the plans in one way or another. It's good to make it one document so people can give their opinions.

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“I'll be giving the Seafront Strategy to one council member to focus on - I'll be appointing them in the next month.

Cllr David Tutt at the pier (photo by Mark Dimmock)

“The strategy means we can prioritise certain things and work effectively. We'll do our best to do what the people of Eastbourne want.”

The Seafront Strategy will be delivered by the Chamber of Commerce, Eastbourne Hospitality Association and the Federation of Small Businesses. This means this group of organisations/authorities will work together to put together the strategy which the council will then work to achieve.

Friends of Eastbourne Seafront wish to be included in the delivery.

The group spokesperson said, “We genuinely feel we can represent the opinions of the residents of Eastbourne and visitors.”

The group said Cllr Tutt has refused to let them be included in the delivery.

The spokesperson said, “What does he have against listening to the views of the people and including these in a seafront strategy?

“Cllr Tutt seems to be deliberately excluding us from discussions.”

In the council meeting on May 18 when the subject was raised by the group Cllr Tutt said he would work with charities and CICs. He said, “Any charity or CIC we'd be happy to work with.”

However, FES doesn't come under the category of CIC or charity as it is a not for profit company limited by guarantee.

Cllr Josh Barbarinde said in the meeting he backed FES being included in the strategy and, aware of the category problem, said the amendment should 'include your legal structure too'.

FES was also backed in the meeting by Conservative Cllr Tony Freebody.

Speaking to Cllr Tutt after the meeting, he said he does want to work with FES.

He said, “I assumed they were a CIC. I'd rather work with them because you can achieve more if you work with people.”

Cllr Tutt clarified there are more than 40 stakeholders in the seafront which will all be part of the strategy and because of that he won't be naming them all individually.

He said, “We'll talk to everyone. The CIC and charity statement doesn't mean we won't work with FES. I'll work with anybody - I'll work with individuals, I'll work with groups, but I won't give them undue prominence because there's around 40 groups to work with for the Seafront Strategy - I want to keep everyone on board.

“Of course I am happy to involve FES. I thought CIC and charities would be all encompassing but I will of course work with them.

“The three names given are recognised professional business organisations but we work with lots of other organisations which will be involved such as Plastic Free Eastbourne, Surfers Against Sewage, and the concession stands.”

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