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£40M levelling up boost for East Sussex

Hastings and Rother are next in line for a £40M boost that will upgrade their towns, community centres and build more affordable homes for local people.

The major regeneration plans confirmed by the government will provide each area with £20M from its Levelling Up Partnerships programme – a £480M initiative providing targeted cash and bespoke regeneration for 20 areas in England and four places in Scotland that are most in need of levelling up.

The total £40M funding will also help Hastings and Rother to revamp health and leisure services for residents, while investing in opportunities that unlock new jobs and skills so people can access higher-paid roles.

Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young said: “These new Levelling Up Partnerships worth £40M are fantastic news for the people of Hastings and Rother – and another important step in our work to accelerate regeneration and transform lives in this special part of the country.

“This money builds on the millions of pounds we’ve already invested to breathe new life into the area – restoring pride in our towns and creating new opportunities for local people.

“We are working closely with local leaders including East Sussex County Council as part of our plans to level up East Sussex, making sure residents and families reap the rewards of new and improved health services, refurbished community hubs and revamped high streets.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has worked closely with the local councils to identify their priority projects. The two £20M Levelling Up Partnerships confirmed for Hastings and Rother will invest:

  • Over £13M to provide more affordable housing in Hastings, plus £9M to build a brand-new King Offa Leisure Centre in Bexhill to release the old site and build over 50 much-needed homes.
  • £5M to build a new Barnhorn Green Health in Bexhill to improve access to healthcare, alongside £70,000 to make improvements to Sidley Family Hub so parents and children can access the support they need.
  • £3.4M to transform the Hollington Youth Hub, offering a wide range of health and wellbeing services in partnership with the local NHS.
  • £2.5M to complete the Queensway Gateway Road, helping to unlock jobs, reduce congestion and ensure improved connectivity in the Bexhill-Hastings Growth Corridor.
  • £2.1M to improve existing community facilities, including over £1 million to build a new Bexhill Community Hub.
  • £1.7M to support the tourist economy in Rother, including further investment in Camber Welcome Centre and new signage for local vineyard businesses.
  • £1M for projects to improve skills across both Hastings and Rother so residents are equipped to gain well-paid jobs.
  • £818,000 for the development of the Project Art Works’ premise, ensuring greater arts access for people with disabilities.
  • £650,000 to improve energy efficiency and long-term sustainability of Rye leisure facilities.
  • £260,000 to support high street improvements in Hastings, Bexhill, Rye and Battle.
  • £100,000 for improvements to the existing Ore Health Centre, making sure services are more accessible to local residents.

These new plans build on the significant investment already underway in these two areas, with Hastings receiving nearly £24 million from the Towns Fund and £1 million UK Shared Prosperity Fund, while Rother benefits from over £19 million from the Levelling Up Fund. Hastings and Bexhill will also see improvements from £20M each as part of the Long-Term Plan for Towns. Hastings Borough Council leader, Cllr Julia Hilton said: “We are really pleased that Hastings has been given this funding to help us address the housing crisis we have in our town.

“The funding means we are able to expand our housing acquisition programme and also make sure that a site earmarked for affordable housing can be built to our very high energy efficient specification and under our control. Funding for other partner projects across the town including skills, health, culture and better youth provision is also very welcome.”

Rother District Council leader, Cllr Doug Oliver said: “Every single person should have the same opportunities in life, regardless of where they live but we know that, in Rother, there are barriers that limit possibilities for some people.

“This latest funding as part of the Government’s Levelling Up Partnerships programme is an amazing investment for our district and will enable us and our partners to make a real difference to people’s lives and futures. We face challenges in Rother unique to us and it’s important that the solutions come from local people and organisations that have the best understanding of the situation.”

The £48M Levelling Up Partnerships programme was announced in the Chancellor’s 2023 Spring Budget and DLUHC has since been rolling out partnerships to each of the 20 areas in England and four locations in Scotland, with funding already confirmed for Hull, Sandwell, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Mansfield, Blackburn and Bassetlaw.

The government will continue to work with the remaining Levelling Up Partnership areas and will be announcing details of their regeneration packages over the next 12 months. All payments are made subject to business case approval.

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