Business support and inward investment agency Locate East Sussex highlights the vast amount of investment being ploughed into the county, regenerating our towns, improving our business connections and creating jobs.
Since the start of this decade, over £200m of government funding has been awarded to East Sussex through a range of programmes to improve infrastructure, town centres, high streets and building commercial units. All of it goes to support the levelling-up agenda, levering in significant private sector funding. Below are the highlights.
Eastbourne successfully secured nearly £20 million for its Levelling Up bid linking the town centre regeneration with a strengthened visitor economy. Victoria Place business district, just off the seafront, is being regenerated into a vibrant pedestrianised zone specialising in food with independent cafes, eateries and small businesses to attract year round visitors. Meanwhile, just out of town, on the edge of the South Downs, is the Towner’s redevelopment of Black Robin Farm into an arts and education centre. This will attract visitors, create jobs and offer training to young people.
Along the coast, Newhaven has also been successful with its Levelling Up bid and been awarded £12.6 million to re-establish the town as a maritime centre of excellence, and to ensure Newhaven’s fishing industry receives the support it needs.
In 2021, Newhaven was also allocated nearly £20m from the Government’s ‘Towns Fund’ to regenerate deprived towns. The council has been working on the detailed plans ever since. They hope to drive economic growth through the ‘Newhaven Enterprise Zone’ and support the development of creative businesses and makers in the town. This will help bridge the creative coast between Eastbourne and Brighton, along with the redevelopment as a thriving port facility re-positioning the town as key southern gateway to the UK. An additional £5m from the ‘Future High Street Fund’ will focus on improving the town centre.
Hastings has also been awarded £24.3 million. The funding will support a range of projects, such as sustainable business incubator units at Churchfield Business Centre, the creation of a ‘Green Low Carbon Skills’ centre of excellence and local labour supply, the regeneration of the town centre to reconnect with residents, businesses and visitors, and development of three key facilities into anchors for a new ‘Creative Quarter’.
Across East Sussex, the Getting Building Fund, via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is supporting projects that enable town centre modernisation, physical connectivity, improvements to human capital, and improvements to digital infrastructure with £11,179,000 across eight projects.
These include the development of 4,000 sq.m of Class B1/B2 industrial units, built using sustainable construction techniques; a new co-working office space for creative industries in Lewes; and the redevelopment of the Observer Building in Hastings into a leisure/retail/living space.
SELEP has also provided almost £2 million from the Growth Fund to create 84,000 sq. ft of light industrial floorspace on Bexhill Enterprise Park North – another major development on the Bexhill Hastings Link Road which has already seen two major new office developments completed in the last few years.
A precursor to the Shared Prosperity Fund in 2021, the Community Renewal Fund invested £2.5 million across
five projects in the county which will safeguard 300 jobs and offer 470 participants skills and employment support.
Currently, project plans for the £1m allocated to each of the borough and districts in East Sussex from the Government’s long awaited Shared Prosperity Fund are being worked up and will soon be submitted to government for approval.
Road infrastructure investment in the pipeline:
• A £75m investment in small scale improvements to the A27 east of Lewes by National Highways, formerly Highways England. Junction improvements at Polegate and Drusillas roundabout were completed at the end of 2021 with the completion of the pedestrian/cycle route planned for the end of 2022;
• With a £23m investment into the Newhaven Port Access Road and further Government investment from the Port Infrastructure Fund to provide the link into the south of the port, the road was opened to traffic in February 2022;
• The Exceat Bridge on the A259 over the River Cuckmere successfully attracted £7.9m of Levelling Up funding which will make a huge difference to traffic using the coast road from Brighton to Eastbourne.
These investments are only part of the recent story of East Sussex. The unprecedented level of investment, together with the shift in working practices since the pandemic, is making the lifestyle East Sussex has to offer appealing for investors and new residents alike.
Locate East Sussex is delighted to see East Sussex being put on the map as a location for business, and is pleased to be able to support businesses on their journey to success.
If you are looking for support in growing your business, do get in touch.