Minister views regeneration in action on visit

Amber Rudd MP and Eric Pickles MP
Amber Rudd MP and Eric Pickles MP

THE Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government paid a visit to town to take a look at the work being done to boost the local economy.

Eric Pickles MP spent last Thursday (November 1) in Hastings, and during his visit launched the start of the next office development in Priory Quarter, which is the first scheme in the region to start, backed by the Government’s Growing Places funds, which it received through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

Mr Pickles also officially opened the Sussex Exchange, the new conference venue and restaurant off Queensway, and visited the University of Brighton’s new teaching building in Hastings, which is close to completion.

He said: “It’s exciting to see all the work under way to boost the local economy in Hastings.

“I’m particularly pleased to witness the beginning of the new office development in Priory Quarter as it’s one of the first Growing Places funded projects to be put into action anywhere in the country.

“It’s great to see this investment translate into tangible building work so swiftly and I’m sure this will lead in turn to increased business activity and jobs in the near future.

Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “It’s great to have so much support from Government for the regeneration of Hastings. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to show Eric Pickles the excellent progress that we’re making to develop jobs and businesses in Hastings.”

Councillor Peter Jones, leader of East Sussex County Council, added: “We remain absolutely committed to delivering projects which will create jobs and growth for local people, and the Growing Places Funding we’ve secured for Priory Quarter will provide another important piece in the jigsaw in creating a central business district for Hastings town centre.”

SELEP chairman, John Spence, said: “Having one of the first schemes in the country with investment of Growing Places Funding demonstrates the extent of opportunity in the South East, and the commitment of the area to unlocking and accelerating growth.

“This is just one of 18 schemes the SELEP is supporting through Growing Places Fund investment, which will unlock an estimated 43,000 jobs and almost 19,000 homes.

The town centre development will create 24,500 sq ft of office space in the Priory Quarter, and is being delivered by economic development company Sea Change Sussex.

The University of Brighton’s new building in Priory Square is being created to double the University’s student capacity in Hastings, with an increased emphasis on commercial courses and science.

The Sussex Exchange is a new conference venue and restaurant in north-west Hastings, created by Sea Change Sussex to serve the business community and residents.