On 27th November 2015 Gary Tidmarsh wrote:

Approval for landmark Eastbourne scheme

We have secured planning consent for a £44m transformational scheme to establish Devonshire Park as a premier cultural and conference destination, which includes major improvements to the international tennis facilities.

Permission was given to refurbish and enhance Eastbourne Borough Council’s Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings: Devonshire Park Theatre, Congress Theatre and the Winter Garden. Upgrading both the exterior and interior of each of the theatres will reinstate them to their former glory, with integrated 21st century technology. Our proposals carefully strike a balance between preserving the heritage of each building whilst revitalising them to provide better facilities for performers and audiences alike.

A new Welcome Building providing conference halls, break out and hospitality areas and a cafe with views across the lawns, was also given the go ahead. With two storeys above ground and two below, it will be a new hub for Devonshire Park and replace the outdated conference facilities currently on the site. The building will be fully glazed to sensitively respond to the neighbouring listed theatres and allow views through to the rest of the park. It will also have a fully accessible entrance to the Congress Theatre, including lifts to every floor.

A landscape masterplan was also approved, including a new plaza in front of the theatres to reinforce the parkland setting and strengthen Devonshire Park’s connection to the seafront and town centre.

Construction is anticipated to start in 2016 and the project will be completed in 2020.