New funding bid could help town

Hundreds of millions of pounds could be invested into the East Sussex economy if ambitious growth plans prove a success.

East Sussex County Council is asking for almost £149million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF) to help fund new transport and infrastructure schemes and improve local skill levels and productivity.

Among the transport schemes for which funding could be used is better walking and cycling routes in Hastings and Bexhill.

Meanwhile, funding could also be used for opening up access to development sites including a site at Blackfriars, in Battle, which could accommodate 245 new homes.

The hope is the cash boost would stimulate private and public sector investment – with the £149million needing to be matched by more than £450 million in an overall package expected to create more than 8,000 new jobs and 2,000 new homes.

The figures appear in the newly-published Growth Deal, an appeal for £1.2billion of LGF funding between 2015 and 2021 by the six authorities which make up the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

Schemes in East Sussex are centred on three areas, dubbed ‘growth corridors’, which include the A21 and A259 around Bexhill and Hastings – meaning 1066 Country could benefit from large scale investment.

Councillor Rupert Simmons, the local authority’s lead member for economy, said: “In East Sussex we have a diverse and growing economy which benefits from a strategic position close to London and the markets of continental Europe.

“It’s vital that we unlock the huge potential we have in the county by ensuring we have the infrastructure in place to deliver the new jobs and homes we need in the future – in the places where we need them most.

“Working with our partners, we have been able to deliver a very strong case to Government to demonstrate why this funding is needed and how it will play a huge part in boosting the economic development of East Sussex.”

A decision on allocation of Local Growth Fund cash is expected in the summer and the £149million funding would be for the period 2015 until 2021.