£1m Bexhill promenade bid

The survey found many did not understand the heritage of East Parade, Bexhill, picture courtesy of Bexhill Museum
The survey found many did not understand the heritage of East Parade, Bexhill, picture courtesy of Bexhill Museum

A bid for almost £1m to restore a stretch of the seafront is one step closer after hundreds of people had their say on the popular promenade.

Rother District Council is set to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for up to £999,000 to develop and conserve East Parade, Bexhill.

On Monday, cabinet members will receive an update on a consultation held last September which saw 665 residents filling in surveys, responding to seafront vox pops and attending project meetings and drop-in sessions.

They will then be asked to authorise a funding application to the HLF based on the findings.

An officer’s report into the consultation says there were four main findings.

Firstly, ‘residents particularly value the peace and quiet of the East Parade’.

Secondly, the history and heritage of the area were not well understood.

Thirdly, the promenade provides opportunities for a ‘wide range of activities’.

And finally, ‘carefully thought-out improvements’ based on ‘capturing and interpreting’ the area’s heritage would enhance the promenade as a destination for residents and visitors.

If the bid for funding is successful, Rother plans to hold further consultation sessions with targeted groups, including young people and families.

There are also plans for the council to collaborate with Bexhill Museum in order to fully understand the heritage value of the site. In August last year, when the bid was initially discussed by cabinet, members agreed match funding of up to £53,000.

At the time, a report by Dr Anthony Leonard, executive director of business operations, said the bid would provide an ‘opportunity’ to build on regeneration projects in areas including Bexhill Rowing Club and Marina Court Gardens.

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

Originally set out as a bicycling boulevard, it has been named the ‘Birthplace of British Motor Racing’ with the first automobile race in Britain taking place in 1902 on the promenade.

A decision on HLF funding is likely to be made in June.

The bid will be discussed at the cabinet meeting at Bexhill Town Hall from 11am on Monday (January 18).

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