Nearly £1million will be applied for to restore a stretch of Bexhill seafront after the council cabinet backed the proposal yesterday (Monday, January 18).
Rother District Council cabinet unanimously agreed to bid for up to £999,000 of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop and conserve East Parade.
Council leader Carl Maynard assured people the authority was not hiding any plans from the public and there are no secret refurbishment projects.
“What we are proposing, that goes in the public domain, is exactly what we are proposing,” he said.
“In other words, there’s no misinformation that we’re about to demolish the shelters, that we aren’t sensitive to the historical significance and heritage value of the site.”
He added that the council does recognise the importance of the seafront and that it wants to ‘preserve and enhance’ it.
A consultation was held last September which saw 665 residents filling in surveys, responding to seafront vox pops and attending project meetings and drop-in sessions.
An officer’s report into the consultation said residents valued its peace and quiet, the history and heritage of the area are not well understood, the promenade provides opportunities for a ‘wide range of activities’, and ‘carefully thought-out improvements’ would make it a destination for people to visit.
The majority of consultation respondents were over-50s and Cllr Simon Elford said social media should be utilised to get the opinions of younger people
Cllr Ian Hollidge suggested putting up posters on East Parade to try and get the views of the people who actually use the promenade regularly.
He said the area is a ‘destination to capitalise on’, and even if the HLF bid is unsuccessful, there are plenty other funds which could be approached.
Disabled access was brought up by Cllr Charles Clark who said wheelchairs cannot get around the area very easily and suggested improving that aspect of the seafront.
Mayor Maurice Watson supported the proposal and said it ‘captured the essence of East Parade’.
“The East Parade doesn’t want to be altered drastically but it wants a bit more tender love and care, I think is the expression,” he said.
A decision on HLF funding is likely to be made in June.
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