Dismay over funding failure

HASTINGS has been overlooked for a multi-million pound grant which it was hoped would create jobs and boost the local economy.

Sea Space, the organisation tasked with promoting regeneration here in 1066 Country, had applied to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund for £8 million to bankroll the next phase of the Priory Quarter development and the expansion of the environmental business park on Queensway.

But it was announced last week the Sea Space proposal had not been successful, much to the dismay of leading local figures.

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “Our town is improving but it still needs that extra boost to guarantee the jobs and prosperity we need. The Coalition Government seems to assume we are part of the affluent south when our social statistics are as challenging as those in the north east or in the Midlands. Of the 50 schemes that have been given the go-ahead there are none in our region. The nearest one to us is in Chelmsford.”

Cllr Birch said he hoped Sea Space re-submits an application for the next round of funding, and Julian Crampton, the organisation’s chairman said that was a possibility.

“We’re deeply disappointed,” he said. “All the public and private sector organisations that worked so hard to put our bid forward believe that the schemes—for further development of Hastings’s Priory Quarter and the Enviro21 Innovation Park—are vitally important for the area. We’ll now see what feedback we can obtain on our bid. Based on this, we will review our options and decide whether to submit a modified bid in the next round of applications.”