Caroline Ansell MP: Solar panels, and levelling up Eastbourne

These last few days have seen an important run of meetings and committees here in Eastbourne and Willingdon and at Westminster.

Caroline Ansell MP
Caroline Ansell MP

In Parliament, I completed the Online Safety Bill committee and clocked up 50 hours of scrutiny of this landmark piece of legislation.

I am a member of the Education Select Committee too and this week we considered the report of our enquiry - soon to be published - into children’s homes.

Back in Eastbourne, I met with M&G – the company that owns Sovereign Harbour Retail Park to discuss how we could more effectively use Eastbourne’s record sunshine hours though solar panels on roof space across the town.

It was a positive first meeting on this initiative to try and make Eastbourne greener and generate more community energy.

This week I got to welcome work experience student Cameron Clarke, 15, from St Catherine’s College to join my team. He’s been a star and has got involved with local campaigns and casework.

It’s the minority of local companies that offer work experience currently and one reason why is the set up arrangements. Sussex Chamber of Commerce did a brilliant job as a ‘gateway’ organisation for the government’s hugely successful Kickstart scheme for young people. I have asked the Chamber if this same approach could work to open up more work experience placements in Eastbourne and I am delighted they have agreed to look at it with me.

I also had a meeting with the borough council over its proposed bid for £50 million from the second round of the Levelling Up Fund. The town has already received £20 million from the fund to transform Victoria Place in the town centre and Black Robin Farm on the downland so this bid will have to be pretty stellar to bring success a second time round.

I always support my town and do all I can to lobby ministers for funds – something I have had a good deal of success with over the years.

However, this bid will need rocket fuel in the next six days until deadline. I asked how many jobs it hoped to generate and the answer I was given was five at this point. It needs to be better than that.