At a meeting next Wednesday (June 9), the council’s cabinet is set to consider a report noting that work is underway to secure money from the government’s Levelling Up fund for a town centre and high street regeneration project.
The project, which concluded a masterplan consultation earlier this year, is intended to bring a wide range of new development to the town centre, including a new leisure centre, housing, shopping area and multi-storey car park.
In the report, a council officer said: “With town centre regeneration being a key theme of the Levelling up Fund, Hailsham Aspires was the standout project to put forward from a Wealden perspective.
“The work undertaken to date means there is a wide range of evidence already available to support the bid and illustrate the project’s compatibility with the award criteria.
“Additionally, having already undertaken this work to the point of [a concept design], illustrates the council has a scheme that is ready to take forward subject to additional funding and one that is potentially further along the line than projects that are being put forward by other authorities.”
The report goes on to say the funding will be sought for the leisure centre portion of the project, which is expected to cost somewhere in the region of £17.6m. If the bid was successful, the council says it could potentially access up to £17.6m in government funding for the scheme.
The report also notes that the submission is to be supported by Wealden MP Nus Ghani a requirement of the bidding process. An MP can only support one bid from their constituency.
The council will also appoint an external consultant to assist with its bid, with funding for this work to be taken from the Hailsham Aspires project budget.
Cabinet members are asked to note the work on the bid and delegate authority to the council’s chief executive for the final submission. The deadline for submission is June 18.
The fund is expected to run until 2024/5, so if the council is not successful in the first round of funding there may be an opportunity to enter submissions for future rounds. A decision on the first round of successful entries is anticipated to be announced this autumn.