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'Significant works' needed for public safety and 'future of Redoubt Fortress'

A project to secure the longevity of the Redoubt Fortress and the safety of pedestrians visiting the area will begin this month.

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The colonnade was constructed in 1934 as a shelter for visitors and is next to the fortress. However, 80 years of exposure to storm force winds, rain and heavy seas has left it weakened and a risk to public safety and the integrity of the fortress itself.

The Redoubt Fortress was built in 1805 to help repel any attempts to invade the British Isles during the Napoleonic Wars.  Notably, the fortress is a Scheduled Monument in recognition of its significance as a historic building.

Working closely with Historic England, Eastbourne Borough Council has commissioned the removal of the colonnade.  Historic England will monitor the progress of the work, which is expected to take 28 weeks to complete.

Councillor Colin Swansborough, Cabinet Member for Heritage Assets, said: "While there will be some sadness to see the colonnade removed, our priority must be the safety of the public and the long-term future of the Redoubt Fortress.

"These are significant works and follow the £750,000 investment the council made in the Bandstand, all reflecting our determination to maintain our seafront assets despite the unprecedented pressures on council funding."

During the First World War the military police used the Redoubt as a headquarters and temporary jail. The army requisitioned the building in the Second World War to use for storage.  In 1944, anti-aircraft guns were mounted on the gun platforms to counter passing V-1 flying bombs. Canadian troops also spent time at the Redoubt in the build up to the D-Day landings.

The Redoubt Fortress remains the most complete and original example of a British Napoleonic era fortress.

Published on February 12, 2024.

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