Hastings gets £23m regeneration cash: Observer readers have their say

We asked our Facebook readers how they thought a £24m grant to regnerate Hastings should be spent.

Hastings town centre April 13 2021. SUS-210413-142258001
Hastings town centre April 13 2021. SUS-210413-142258001

Hastings has been awarded the money to ‘regenerate our town and create more opportunities for businesses and residents’.

Hannah Barry said: “We need better play parks. Alexandra Park playgrounds are shocking.”

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Lee Davey said: “Start with the roads they are an absolute joke and dangerous for road users.”

Lyn Marshall said: “We need more shops ...nothing draws you into town anymore.”

Leon Pettit said: “Some of that can be spent replacing the benches.”

Joolz Hodges said: “More affordable housing is needed.”

Matt Bass said: “A park which is suitable and accessible for disabled or less abled children. The town has very little for my boy. And sort the potholes out.”

Colin P Martin said: “First the roads need addressing and then start to spend the £24 million on things this town needs, coach park and public toilets and lower the rates so retailers stay here.”

Zena Anne Murray said: “We definitely need something for the locals in the winter months. I would love to see a community gardens in the town as well.”

Hilary Mansfield said: “Excellent, it’s needed.”

The borough council said this has secured Hastings’ £24.3m share of the overall £3.6bn offered through the Towns Fund to 101 towns across the UK and kickstarts the re-set button for Hastings and its regeneration ambitions.

Hastings’ £24.3m investment includes a new green and Low Carbon Centre of Excellence that will provide new commercial space while also helping the town seize the opportunities of the emerging green economy, the authority said.

It will also boost the town’s tourism offer through improvements to the castle and other public spaces, it added.

Carole Dixon, co-chairman of Hastings Town Deal Board, said: “We are grateful that the Government saw the regeneration opportunities these proposals offer our seaside town and we are delighted with the news that Hastings has been successful in being awarded £24.3m funding through the Towns Fund.

“£24.3m is a significant amount, and we are excited to be able to use this to enable the successful projects to come to life. Helping to regenerate our town and creating more opportunities for businesses and residents sits at the heart of the bid.

“Although this is a huge step in the process, the hard work is just beginning. Over the next 12 months, business cases for each project will need to be developed and submitted to government for approval. It is only then that the funding will be released, and work can start.”

Graham Peters, co-chairman of Hastings Town Deal Board, said: “The programme which was built around seven project themes offers Hastings incredible and exciting opportunities to drive forward sustainable growth and prosperity.

“Hastings will continue to thrive as a healthy, vibrant, and quirky seaside town that people love to visit, live, and work in.

“Everyone involved has put in great energy to develop the Town Investment Plan. We saw over 150 innovative ideas through the open call for expression of interest process: these were independently assessed against government criteria to ensure they met the brief for the funding.”

Cllr Paul Barnett, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “This amounts to a remarkable £100m+ investment in Hastings and demonstrates the confidence that the Government, private sector and local community organisations have in transforming our economic and cultural offer.

“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has been involved in this process. This includes those on the Town Deal board who have worked incredibly hard to secure this funding, as well as local organisations and residents who submitted their regeneration ideas for the town.

“This offers our whole town great prospects and is exactly the boost our local economy needs, following the huge impact that has been felt by Covid-19.”