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No seagulls in this truly diverse seaside resort, could Lowestoft have the same?

PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 April 2018

Eastbourne Pier. Picture: Emma Ratzer.

Eastbourne Pier. Picture: Emma Ratzer.

Archant

Last weekend we visited Eastbourne. Our journey south took the scenic route through Essex which had delightful villages and towns and even more delightful pubs and dog walks.

Emma Ratzer, Access Community Trust. Picture: Archant.Emma Ratzer, Access Community Trust. Picture: Archant.

I was slightly surprised that we didn’t see at least one of the cast of TOWIE, but I recall visiting Chelsea once and I never saw any of their TV show characters either. I am beginning to suspect that reality TV is not really real – who would have thought that!

Eastbourne has a long seafront with large hotels of Georgian and Victorian architecture. If you looked closely though, many of them were empty. The road that falls between the beach and the hotels is incredibly busy, so although you can see the sea, you can’t get to it without running the gauntlet of campervans and Volvos.

The beach is pebbly. The pier is rather stunning to observe but as one isn’t allowed on it with a dog I can’t tell you what it hosts. Behind the main seafront (which does boast the most fabulous 1920s bandstand) is what they call ‘local shops’, sort of like our wonderful Kirkley area. This area in Eastbourne is tired and run down and most shops look to have been closed for many years. It was nothing like the eclectic and vibrant environment you find on London Road South – definitely one point for Lowestoft with that one.

There were two notable differences I wanted to share. There are no seagulls the size of a small toddler swooping overhead preying on anyone who has just exited Greggs with a sausage roll. Seaside town it maybe but they were conspicuous in their absence. We parked the car five metres from the 
beach, all weekend, and 
we didn’t come back to a mountain of guano slowly eating through one’s newly polished paint. Why do we have flying pterodactyls when the south have 
pretty, petite birds? The town centre, our London Road North area, was heaving with pedestrian traffic all day and night. Why? Because it was full of cafes and restaurants that brought people into town. Lots of small, independently run establishments serving anything from Japanese 
to Jamaican, truly diverse and truly individual. 
This made the town busy, people have a reason to visit.

Eastbourne Pier. Picture: Emma Ratzer.Eastbourne Pier. Picture: Emma Ratzer.

I can almost hear your response “that will never happen here, there is no free parking and there are too many charity shops.” Well, no free parking in Eastbourne and many, many charity shops – the reality is, it can be made to work.

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