Hastings a step closer to £25m funding bid

Hastings has taken a big step closer to bidding for up to £25m from the Government’s new Town Fund by setting up a Town Deal Board.

At a public meeting last week delegates from the health, education, business, community and voluntary sectors in the town, as well as officers from East Sussex County Council (ESCC), Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and the Hastings and Rye MP nominated representatives to comprise the new Town Deal Board.

Votes were cast and a board elected, including co-Chairs, Graham Peters and Carole Dixon.

The board will take a leading role in creating a vision and strategy for the town and bring parties together to attract public and private investment. It will reset the regeneration plans for the town over the next ten years or so. 

Town Deal Board members including the co-Chairs, Graham Peters and Carole Dixon, the MP, Sally-Ann Hart, and the Leader of the council, Peter Chowney.

Graham Peters, co-Chair and Vice Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted and honoured to be elected co- Chair of the Town Deal Board. The Town Fund represents a really exciting opportunity for Hastings. It is inspiring to see a board made up of people from all sectors coming together to drive up prosperity in the town.”

Carole Dixon, co-Chair and Chair of the Hastings Community Network, added: “The board understands the issues and opportunities and I am looking forward to working with them and the wider community to develop this bid for the town, and to build on the work undertaken in the town over the last 20 years.”

Peter Chowney, the current leader of the HBC, was also elected and said afterwards: “We will be looking to develop a town deal investment plan that addresses some of the problems we have in Hastings – for example, a lack of affordable housing, low skills and educational achievement and the need for improved transport links.  We will also be expecting funded projects to help achieve our goal of making Hastings carbon neutral by 2030.”

Speaking at the meeting, which was held at the council’s offices, Sally-Ann Hart, the MP for Hastings and Rye and member of the new Town Deal Board, echoed Peter’s enthusiasm: “Although I am new to my role as MP I have lived in the area for many years and look forward to contributing to the bid process as part of this Board. It is good to see cross party support for this great opportunity for the town.”

Councillor Keith Glazier, Leader of ESCC, who is also a Board member said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Town Deal Board, and wholeheartedly support the push for additional funding.  Further regeneration of Hastings will provide a huge boost to the economy of the town and East Sussex, and we look forward to working with our partners to help take these plans forward.”

Setting up a Town Deal Board is an important part of the first stage of the Town Fund bid process. The Board will now work on creating an investment plan for the town in consultation with the community. The plan will form the basis of the town deal which will be agreed with government. If successful, funding will be sought from government during 2021/22.

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