The longterm future of the Colonnade has yet to be decided but there’s good news this week for businesswoman Janet Bussche.
She feared Rother District Council might rent to someone else but has now been told she can have a short term lease for two to three years.
Janet commented; “We are staying. It is a nice Christmas present. It is good - I really enjoy this building and I have lots of plans.”
Janet set up her vintage tearoom and pop-up market in summer knowing that she might lose out if there was a satisfactory offer from an applicant wanting to lease the unit and run a restaurant. This was the council’s original plan outlined in Next Wave development for the seafront.
However the Colonnade is beset with damp and water leaks which made the unit difficult to promote successfully and the problem is thought to have contributed to RDC’s decision.
There was also worry that other traders in nearby kiosks selling food or drink would get their marching orders because of potential direct competition with a new concern.
Janet is hoping the short term lease will turn into longer committment to make investment worthwhile - she has to install a kitchen because the existing one has water running down the walls, as well as toilets, and electricity.
“It will all have to be done,” shae said. “But I am really happy as long as it does work out.”
She praised Rother District Councillors for taking the time to come and look round and ask questions, and said they were “very supportive”.
Meanwhile Bexhill resident Jackie Bialeska criticises the council for its lack of transparency over this issue which was discussed by cabinet last Monday with press and public excluded.
She said: “A lot of public money has been spent on the Colonnade and we feel that the public is entitled to know what has happened to their money and how much is being poured away now that the place has been unused, apart from the “pop-up” market, for several years now. The Colonnade was planned and extensively rebuilt as a commercial venture but mostly in a secretive manner.
“The open discussion was supposedly meant to happen in public. However, before the item was even started, and even though it was there on the agenda we, the public, were ordered to go.
“Of course what would have followed later in the agenda was marked down as confidential, and rightly so as it is a commercial report, but why on earth were we turfed out from the open discussion? What is there to hide?”