MP disappointed as £150k funding for Peacehaven transport improvements remains unspent
An MP has expressed his disappointment that more than £150k of ‘Section 106’ money set aside for transport infrastructure projects in Peacehaven and Telscombe remains unspent.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the MP for Brighton Kemptown, said the money – which is contributed by developers building in the area – had been available for five years and would have to be returned ‘in a few short months’ if it is not spent.
In a letter to East Sussex County Council which he posted on Facebook in full, he said it was ‘astounding’ that the money had not been used on ‘shovel ready projects’ put forward by the town council.
He accused the council of ‘ignoring’ Peacehaven and Telscombe and called for the funds to be put towards fixing roads and other infrastructure projects.
In a comment posted online alongside the letter, he said: “It is hard not to get fed up with East Sussex County Council (ESCC) for them ignoring Peacehaven and Telscombe.
“Many of you will know that Conservative controlled ESCC have had £154,914.81 of ‘Section 106’ money set aside from local developments for transport infrastructure projects.
“They have had this money for years and if they haven’t used it soon it will be returned to the developers.”
According to Mr Russell-Moyle, Brighton and Hove buses had considered a new bus route through Peacehaven but the roads were ‘so bad’ they did not want to risk damaging their buses.
“They told ESCC about the issue and the upgrades needed to run the extra service and nothing was done,” he said.
“£154,914.81 could have been spent on getting our area better access to public transport.”
The county council said it had recently commissioned a A259 corridor study which was due to be concluded next summer.
The Section 106 would be used to fund projects identified by the study, it confirmed.
A spokesman said: “Lewes District Council currently hold, on our behalf, a transport Section 106 contribution of £154,914.81 from the development of land in Peacehaven.
“We have allocated this contribution, in accordance with the uses specified in the Section 106 agreement, towards the construction of measures which will come forward through the recently commissioned A259 corridor study.
“The study is not being funded from the Section 106 contribution and is due to be concluded by early summer 2022.
“To avoid the contribution being returned to the developer it has to be paid to the County Council by September 2021 for the purposes specified in the agreement, and we are currently in the process of arranging the transfer from Lewes District Council.
“The funding has not been spent to date as there have been no identified schemes compatible with the requirements of the Section 106 agreement, which is why the A259 corridor study is an important step in helping to identify potential measures.
“Officers have met with Peacehaven Town Council to discuss a potential scheme for the area and work is continuing to assess its feasibility and whether the Section 106 contribution could be used towards it.”