Hastings and Rye’s local MP, Sally-Ann Hart, has this morning (4 August), welcomed the announcement of £5 milllion in Government funding to support the local manufacturing sector and the restoration of the old Observer Building. This is part of the Government’s wider Getting Building Fund of nearly £900 million, of which the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) received £85 million.
On hearing the announcement Sally-Ann Hart said, “I am delighted at the news of an additional £5 million for Hastings from the SELEP’s Getting Building Fund. This is much needed investment in our town and shows that investment in our businesses is still coming, even in these challenging times. This latest announcement in funding will go towards restoring the old Observer Building in the town centre and supporting more manufacturing space, creating over 100 new jobs combined. This is great news for our town and I would like to thank everyone at the SELEP for investing in our area again.
“It will be a great boost for our town not only with the creation of new high-skilled jobs, but also to see the old Observer Building brought back to life and revitalised in our town centre.”
The first project in Hastings to get funding is The Fast Track Business Solutions project for the Hastings manufacturing sector which has secured £3.5 million in Getting Building Funding to address the town’s immediate need for modern manufacturing space. The project will create 96 new jobs and safeguard a further 33, as well as creating 17 additional construction jobs.
Close to 4,000sq m of commercial floorspace will be made available to accommodate up to 15 businesses in an established industrial location with good transport links. These manufacturing units will be constructed with sustainable growth in mind, using low- and zero-carbon technologies to provide a low maintenance and low energy cost solution.
The second project is a further £1.7 million which has been secured for the area for the restoration of The Observer Building, an iconic and much-loved local landmark that has sat derelict for 35 years. The project will revitalise the building with four floors of leisure, retail, office, studio and community space spanning 2,100sq m, and is led by a locally rooted social enterprise developer.
This project will create 66 new jobs and safeguard a further four, as well as creating 14 additional construction jobs. It will also unlock 15 new housing units, and act as a regeneration catalyst for all of Hastings – as well as being a key component of the local High Street Heritage Action Zone.
The Government’s new £900 million Getting Building Fund has been created to invest in local infrastructure projects to drive economic growth in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. With an £85 million share, SELEP successfully secured the largest allocation for any LEP area in the UK.
In mid-July, SELEP Directors met to review and narrow down the previously submitted longlist by focusing on projects that can progress quickly but will also stimulate and better integrate economies in some of the most economically impacted and COVID-affected parts of the South East. A total of £11,179,793 has been secured for projects across East Sussex.
Projects on the final list cover a wide range of areas in need of support including digital capabilities so companies can adapt; COVID-secure workspaces for businesses; skills development to help workers either retrain for a new industry or further develop skills; and the clean growth agenda. The impetus given to these ensure that sites are unlocked, and that the creation of new jobs is stimulated across the whole of the area.