Bexhill and Hastings among towns set to receive £20 million of long term investment
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55 towns have been named on the full government list, which will see a total of £1.1 billion of investment pumped into communities all over the UK. Each town will be given an opportunity to develop a long term plan, with the support of a central-government appointed town board.
It’s hoped that this new approach will empower local people, rather than politicians and civil servants in Whitehall, to affect change in their communities. The Town Board will comprise community leaders, local employers, local authorities like East Sussex County Council and Hastings Borough Council, and each party will work together to create a long-term plan which will be submitted to members of the public for consultation.
The Town Board will also be able to use a ‘suite of regenerative powers’ to unlock private sector investment, through auctioning off empty shops, reforming licencing rules and supporting more housing in town centres.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Towns are the place most of us call home and where most of us go to work. But politicians have always taken towns for granted and focused on cities.
“The result is the half-empty high streets, run-down shopping centres and anti-social behaviour that undermine many towns’ prosperity and hold back people’s opportunity – and without a new approach, these problems will only get worse.
“That changes today. Our Long-Term Plan for Towns puts funding in the hands of local people themselves to invest in line with their priorities, over the long-term. That is how we level up.”Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove added: "We know that in our towns the values of hard work and solidarity, common sense and common purpose, endeavour and quiet patriotism have endured across generations. But for too long, too many of our great British towns have been overlooked and undervalued.
“This will empower communities in every part of the UK to take back control of their future, taking long term decisions in the interests of local people. It will mean more jobs, more opportunities and a brighter future for our towns and the people who live and work in them.”