£5.4 million cash boost for East Sussex jobs and skills

Cllr Keith GlazierEAST Sussex looks set to receive a multi-million pound funding boost which could create more than 1,000 new jobs, apprenticeships and college places.

The county has been provisionally allocated £5.4 million of Local Growth Fund cash for three projects aimed at further developing the East Sussex economy and improving skills.

It will go towards a new centre of excellence at Plumpton College for trades such as agriculture and food processing, an enterprise park in Bexhill and new business units in Hastings.

The county will receive more than a third of the £15.4 million available under the latest round of funding, administered by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

It is the result of a successful bid by Team East Sussex, the county’s economic growth board, and East Sussex County Council on behalf of Plumpton College, economic development company Sea Change Sussex and Hastings Borough Council respectively.

Cllr Keith Glazier, county council leader, said: “This is great news for East Sussex and will help to create new jobs, improve skills and provide a further impetus to the county’s economy.

“The fact we’ve been awarded this substantial amount of funding is testament to the hard work put in by our team and our partners, and the fact we’ve got a proven track record of delivery.”

A total of £2.9m of the funding will go towards a £7 million project at Plumpton College to build a new centre of excellence for the agrifoods sector, including new training suites for meat processing and bakery, conference facilities and networking space for rural businesses.

The scheme is aimed at boosting productivity in the sector during the Brexit transition and in the 10 years following, and will support 204 new apprenticeship posts and 248 additional learners.

Meanwhile, £1.9m has been awarded for infrastructure for the new £20.7 million Bexhill Enterprise Park North, next to the newly-opened North Bexhill Access Road, which could create up to 493 jobs.

In Hastings, £0.5 million will go towards a £2.7m project to build 28 new units for small and start-up businesses on vacant land in Sidney Little Road, expected to generate up to 74 jobs.

Graham Peters, chairman of Team East Sussex and vice chairman of SELEP, said: “We’re delighted that more than £5 million is being invested in the East Sussex economy.

“The funding will enable provision of space for more than 550 jobs, allowing existing and new businesses to grow, and support a major project which will boost skills in a key sector for the county.”

The provisional funding, which will build on the existing £110m of capital investment in East Sussex as a result of cash secured from SELEP, is expected to be confirmed early in summer 2019.