Bexhill group welcomes £90m coastal communities fund

Communities minister Mark Francois with Bexhillian and The Source Park co-founder Richard Moore. Photo by Sid Saunders
Communities minister Mark Francois with Bexhillian and The Source Park co-founder Richard Moore. Photo by Sid Saunders

An extra £90m to support seaside communities was welcomed by a group hoping to use the money to regenerate the town centre.

Bexhill Forward plans on making an application to the coastal communities fund at the end of June for a grant to improve connections between the seafront and town centre.

Communities minister Mark Francois unveiled the new funding during a visit to Hastings on Monday (May 23).

The group, the town’s official coastal community team, is working with Rother District Council to make the bid but developments are still in their infancy.

“The broad aim is to improve connectivity between the foreshore and the town centre businesses,” spokesman Hillary Randall said.

“To this end we aim to make the town centre attractive, accessible, safe and welcoming, we are particularly keen to entice seafront visitors into Sackville Road.

“We also want to encourage diversification of the town centre’s economy by introducing business incubator spaces, and business and skills training.

“We aim to capitalise on the great work that has already been started by the Coastal Cultural Trail which also benefited from the coastal communities fund, this included the new sign posts and information boards installed Bexhill town centre last autumn.”

This forms part of Bexhill Forward’s economic plan to revitalise the town which started with the Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair at the De La Warr Pavilion last month.

Since 2012, the government has invested £120m in seaside towns and cities and Rother District Council has previously made a bid to the fund with the support of Bexhill Forward.

Mr Francois was given a tour of the newly-redeveloped Hastings Pier and The Source skate park, which was founded by Bexhill brothers Richard and Marc Moore and has also benefitted from the fund.

“I think the really good thing is the government found £120m in difficult economic times for the initial rounds of coastal communities funding, and because we’ve seen the good work it can do, including down here in Hastings, we decided to commit a further £90m over the next four years going forward,” he said.

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