Liberal Democrats running Eastbourne have been accused of letting the town's much-loved and hugely popular Bandstand ‘fall into a state of disrepair’.
The claim was made by Conservative councillor Toby Freebody at last night's full meeting of the Borough Council which was forced to consider a petition lodged by Save the Bandstand campaigners.
Cllr Freebody added: “This town relies on tourism. If our seafront, the jewel in our crown, is left to rot and ruin we won’t have any tourism, people won’t want to come to Eastbourne.”
The Ratton councillor went on to highlight the town’s ‘fantastic’ seafront, but suggested "it is not being looked after’ and ‘money needs to go and be spent now".
Other Conservative councillors at the meeting argued the council should sell off some of its assets to pay for the repairs. But their appeal fell on deaf ears as their proposal was outvoted by the Lib-Dem administration.
After presenting the petition to save the historic structures, lead petitioner Gaynor Sedgewick, chairman of the Save Eastbourne Bandstand Group, said: “We all seem to agree that the Bandstand is important to the people and businesses of Eastbourne and the closure of it will have a detrimental impact on the tourist economy and the enjoyment of residents. We all agree that we would like to see it reopened early next year or even sooner."
Those views were not shared by the ruling administration who ignored Ms Sedgewick's remarks that: “We know that the Grade II listed Bandstand is of historic and national importance. Eastbourne Borough Council has a duty and responsibility to ensure heritage assets are protected for generations to come.”
Save the Bandstand members are pictured outside Wednesday's meeting.