Bid to preserve Bexhill’s East Parade

Bexhill seafront. Picture by Steve Hunnisett
Bexhill seafront. Picture by Steve Hunnisett

Bosses at Rother District Council have agreed to apply for almost £1 million for the restoration and conservation of a stretch of Bexhill seafront.

The authority wants to set up a project, which involves bidding for a £999,000 grant to the Heritage Lottery Fund for East Parade.

Councillors on Rother’s cabinet committee discussed the scheme on Monday (August 3), giving it their full approval.

A report by Dr Anthony Leonard, the authority’s executive director of business operations, came before councillors at this week’s meeting.

In it he said: “This provides an opportunity to build on the regeneration already seen through the projects, which have improved West Parade, the Grade II listed King George V Colonnade, Bexhill Rowing Club and Marina Court Gardens, alongside Bexhill town centre regeneration projects.”

East Parade is a one-mile stretch of seafront promenade, which runs eastwards from the De La Warr Pavilion, along to Galley Hill.

Dr Leonard added: “The main purpose of the promenade has historically been to protect the coastline but an ancillary benefit has been, and continues to be, informal recreation and enjoyment.

“As a designed space, set out by the 8th Earl De La Warr in 1896, the wide expanse of green laid out in parallel to the hardstanding of the promenade is still in evidence today.

“East Parade has high heritage value in both its physical character and its social history.

“The promenade is an integral part of the history and development of seaside towns, with the concept of ‘promenading’ by walking or cycling being of high significance in the social structure of Edwardian England.

“In Bexhill, the promenade of East Parade originally set out as a bicycling boulevard has been named the ‘Birthplace of British Motor Racing’ with the first automobile race in Britain taking place in 1902 on this stretch of promenade.

“It is considered it would benefit from revitalisation with careful and sympathetic restoration of its rich and diverse heritage.”

He said the project will include landscape restoration and refurbishment, as well as the restoration of the three, Grade II listed Edwardian seafront shelters.

Councillors said a consultation will be set up with all relevant stakeholders, organisations, voluntary and community groups, including Bexhill Town Forum.

Cabinet members also agreed Rother District Council match fund up to £53,000 as part of the bid.

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