The Eden Project and Eastbourne Borough Council, with the support of the South Downs National Park, are exploring initial ideas for an environmental project in Eastbourne.
Over the next year, a number of organisations and individuals will mould and shape ideas and explore what can be achieved together. East Sussex County Council is being kept up to speed with the discussions.
As plans take shape, the council will share them with the people of Eastbourne and seek feedback.
Eastbourne has a fine heritage of hospitality, culture and wellbeing. Its downland, cliffs (including Beachy Head) and grazing marshes are places of great beauty, a long human history and much ecological potential.
Eden Project International, the global wing of the Eden Project, is working on projects around the world. Each project is a unique response to its setting and aims to connect people with the natural world in exciting and engaging ways.
David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: “We are excited by the start of this relationship with Eden. We will work together to look at what is possible. We will take the people of Eastbourne on this journey with us.”
Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of The Eden Project, said: “We have been inspired by the people we have met in Eastbourne and their desire to encourage a new vision of the future to take hold in this beautiful part of the world. We are excited by the many opportunities here and look forward to helping them progress over the coming months.”
Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to better connect the wider Eastbourne community and visitors alike with the special landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage of the National Park.
“We know of the many benefits of connecting people with nature and, while this vision is still very much in its infancy, we look forward to collaborating with partners to see what can be achieved.”
Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has also pledged her support for exploratory talks with The Eden Project.
She said: “This is a very exciting prospect and I look forward to working with this world-class and internationally renowned environmental project.
“I believe Eastbourne is an ideal place for the Eden Project to be involved. We have wonderful natural resources on both land and sea and such a partnership will add tremendously to our plans to protect and enhance our natural environment for generations to come.”
Joe Hill, Director of Towner Eastbourne, said: “Eastbourne’s downlands are an extraordinary and important part of the town’s story. It is a world-class resource for residents and visitors to the area. Towner has always used this relationship to the landscape as the starting point of a creative and cultural conversation with our audience. We look forward to being part of the collaboration with the Eden Project.”
The Eden Project was introduced to Eastbourne by local resident Lord Lucas. He is an active member of the House of Lords and was a member of the Lords committee on regenerating seaside towns and communities in 2019.
“I have seen the great work of The Eden Project and suggested they should spend a few days in Eastbourne,” Lord Lucas explained. “We toured the area and explored some of our beautiful downlands. They were excited by the possibilities of bringing some of their knowledge and expertise to the area.”
Published on 3 February 2020