Government cash boost ‘great news for East Sussex’

Cllr Rupert SimmonsA £16.7 million funding boost to support the building of more than 1,000 new homes in East Sussex has been hailed by council chiefs.

The cash for projects in Battle, Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes, was announced in the first wave of funding for ‘marginal viability proposals’ from the Government’s £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.

It will be used for projects such as new roads, schools, health centres and energy and digital networks to accommodate growing communities and to ease pressure on public services.

The funding is the result or partnership working by East Sussex County Council, and district and borough councils in Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Rother and Wealden.

Meanwhile, the county council has worked with Wealden District Council to submit a bid for £32 million from the second wave of funding from the scheme, termed ‘forward funding’, for housing infrastructure in the district, with a decision from Government expected in the summer.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “Across East Sussex there is a growing need for new homes – particularly affordable housing to allow young people and first-time buyers to stay in this area and contribute to our economy.

“It’s vital that in areas where new homes are planned, we have suitable infrastructure in place to support it, and this funding will play an important role in delivering this.

“This funding is great news for East Sussex, allowing us to open up land for much-needed new housing, creating jobs and providing a boost for the county’s economy.

“The successful bids are the result of some excellent collaborative work between the county council and district and borough councils, and we’ll continue to work with colleagues in Wealden to make the case to Government for the significant extra funding the district needs.”

Housing developments which will benefit from the first round of funding are the Blackfriars development, in Battle, Bedfordwell Road, in Eastbourne, Combe Valley Sports Village, in Hastings, and North Street Quarter, in Lewes.

If successful, the bid for £32 million funding for Wealden will be used to address transport issues in the Ashdown Forest, increase education provision in the south of the district and improve transport links between Eastbourne and Hailsham.