Eastbourne has in fact chosen not to apply over the last few years, despite having excellent ratings for water quality.
An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said:
“We are delighted to see that Sussex beaches have continued to present high standards of water quality and that Eastbourne’s excellent rating, the highest possible rating by the Environment Agency, throughout 2015 (and so far in 2016) has demonstrated another great year for bathers.
Eastbourne has however chosen not to apply for Blue Flag status for several years now, not because of water quality standards, which we clearly meet, but because of the enormous cost involved in updating our extensive seafront signage each year, to meet some of the accompanying information-based criteria.
In an era of tighter budgets, we are instead delighted to work with the Marine Conservation Society whose recommendation of Eastbourne’s clean and safe resort beach in the Good Beach Guide, has also made the resort a top choice to host their annual Big Sea Swim every July."