We cannot have a successful 21st century economy in Hastings and Rye without 21st century infrastructure. In our transport investment, for instance, when you look at where we were four and a half years ago, we have made massive progress.
Our local area has seen some positive investment in the Hastings-Bexhill link road, £57 million, in fact and this is on top of council funding of £56 million.
This will improve accessibility between Bexhill and Hastings and open up 52,000 sq m of land for business development and housing and in turn create hundreds of new jobs.
One of the much-needed investments we needed to make was the dualling of the A21. I am pleased the A21 is now being dualled at Pembury. But we must not just focus on the North-South routes alone we need a good coast road as well. Many of us who live locally commute daily along the A27 to work and know full well the horrors of that journey. It is great that we now have £350m of central Government investment which will go towards alleviating the congestion at the bottlenecks around Worthing, Lancing and Arundel. With £75 million investment towards the Lewes to Polegate stretch. The cash injection to the improvement of the A27 is going to see jobs grow, business investment and the local economy expand. In rail, I think we are making real progress. Network Rail have promised to bring the HS1 trains to Hastings and Rye with construction starting in 2019 and I am pushing to bring forward that date to 2017. One of the most enjoyable parts of my work as your local MP is supporting and recognising the hard work and community spirit shown by our local community. All you need to do is take a walk down St Leonard’s and have look at the Pier. Only 4 years ago, we were plunged into despondency at the sight of the burnt out wreck. Now plans for the new Pier have really taken off and I feel very proud that Hastings residents are working flat out to get the new, rebuilt Pier open again next year. We have so much to be thankful for in Hastings and Rye- improving schools, outstanding doctors, progress with rail and road infrastructure, £179 million in additional funding from the Government to support infrastructure investment and buildings in the town and prospects of real prosperity for the area as a result. But there is more work to do. My plan for the future is to push for more investment to bring the A259 into the 21st century and to call for further dualling of the A21 all the way to Hastings. Infrastructure is the invisible thread that ties our prosperity together. And we need to carry on investing in our local infrastructure if we are to continue to give our town the boost it needs.