218 Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XV1L
£3250 was asked for the site, and the Local Board thought they could not afford such a sum, though they afterwards paid £3000 for the site which was taken.
The Sussex Gardens site, off the Terminus Road, was finally fixed upon at first, and respecting that site the first great battle of the contending parties was fought. The casus belli was an application by the Local Board to borrow £12,000 for the purchase of the site and for the proposed buildings thereon. The leader of the " Do-nothing" party was then, as ever since, the Champion Obstructive, Mr. Reuben Climpson, who was well backed up by some of the Magistrates, of whom better things might have been expected. In the end (1878) the proposal failed, because the Local Government Board Inspector pointed out that a Provisional Order for the purchase of the site compulsorily could not be got through during the current Session, and he advised the Local Board to take advantage of the delay to look about for another site. For the moment the '' Do-nothing party triumphed, and saved the town £12,000, and the adoption of a very central, though perhaps not good site. To cut a long story short, the saving of £12,000 cost the town £40,000 in the present Town Hall on a site better on the whole than the site rejected, but those who complained of the ultimate cost had no right to do so. As an instance of injudicious local finance, engineered by cheese-paring leaders, the incident finds many counterparts in various places in England.
The foregoing is but a skeleton outline of what happened and a few more details may well be given.
At the Lady-Day Vestry on March 25, 1874, a scheme for enlarging the Vestry Hall by erecting a retiring room on land adjoining was negatived, and an amendment carried that the time had arrived when the town required more public office accommodation, and that steps should be taken for the erection of a sufficient Town Hall and Public Offices under one roof.
In consequence of this vote of the Vestry, I brought forward at the Local Board on April C, 1874, the following resolution :—" That a Committee of 9 members