The entertainment space off the Opera House Plaza has a brand new name: The Eastbourne.

The winner of a competition to name the space was announced on Friday. Julie Hart, the manager of Hastings Women’s Refuge, was thrilled to win the naming competition. Her prize is a catered dinner for up to 10 people in The Eastbourne.

Ms Hart’s entry beat 120 submissions.

The Eastbourne is the space next to the Opera House Plaza formerly leased by Opera Kitchen which has moved a few metres down into the historic HB Electric Power Board building.

The Eastbourne has been transformed into a “unique and elegant space” that can be used in a number of ways, says Hastings District councillor Adrienne Pierce, who is the chairperson of Council’s Opera House and Precinct Committee.

“It can be a space that is combined with the use of the plaza area, maybe as a relaxing zone away from the main event area; or it can be hired on its own to host a smaller special event.”

The naming comes as plans for the earthquake strengthening of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House continue.

“There has not been a lot to actually see to this stage, but there has been a lot going on in the background,” Ms Pierce says.

“As the technical work continues, the committee is working on the plan of attack including reviewing the community’s submissions. We appreciate people want to see some action and rest assured we are working on it.”

Completed work includes the fundraising strategy, while the feasibility and communications plans are almost finalised. Council is planning on having a timeline on the strengthening project by February.

The Opera House and Arts Precinct Committee members are councillors Pierce, Sandra Hazlehurst, George Lyons and Malcolm Dixon.