Nearly £2 million will be invested in new workspace on the site of the former Premier Foods factory in Bexhill.
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is to allocate £960,000 of Local Growth Fund investment, matched by £800,000 from Rother District Council
(RDC), to the Bexhill Creative Workspace project.
The aim is to create new employment opportunities, low cost creative workspace and strengthen ties with the De La Warr Pavilion.
The site on Beeching Road industrial estate was used by Premier Foods for the production of its Sharwood’s range until 2004 when it closed with the loss of 250 jobs. The funding was allocated after RDC put a case to SELEP, which is responsible for supporting the economies of East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
The decision was welcomed by Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, who said: “This is a really exciting project. I’m delighted to see RDC, with the help of SELEP, has seized this great opportunity to create a hub for the creative industries in Bexhill. I know, from my work for our local jobs fair, there’s a huge amount of creative talent in and around Bexhill. It’s essential we create the right environment and workspace to help this innovative industry to thrive and grow.”
Christian Brodie, chief executive of SELEP, said: “This will create a focus for the town’s creative industries and also help to ensure Bexhill maintains its distinctiveness from neighbouring Hastings and Eastbourne.
“The De La Warr Pavilion is a beacon for the arts. This new workspace offers the great opportunity for the town to capitalise upon this to promote the town’s creative industries, and promote Bexhill as a place to work, play and visit.”
After buying the site from the Mars Pension Fund, RDC plans to use the shell of the existing building and redevelop the interiors, roof and accesses. When completed, the project will create light industrial units specifically for creative firms or new arrivals to the town.
Cllr Christine Bayliss, RDC cabinet member for regeneration and Bexhill affairs, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded funding from the Local Growth Fund for this exciting project. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to build and strengthen the links we have with Bexhill’s creative community and to create a hub where the town’s creative and cultural activity can grow and thrive.”