Progress of £32m St Leonards improvement project is reviewed

Cllr Andy Batsford
Cllr Andy Batsford

After 16 years of renewal work in central St Leonards, Hastings Borough Council has reviewed its progress.

According to a council spokesman, a £32 million public and private investment focussed on the renewal area has seen some significant improvements, particularly in housing. The local environment, town centre and anti-social behaviour have also improved, the spokesman said.

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The council considers the main achievements to be the 600 homes made fit to live in, over 300 homes improved that were in serious disrepair, 53 homes improved by housing associations, nine compulsory purchase orders made for long-term empty properties, 104 homes with multiple occupations improved, 111 buildings improved through enforcement action, long-term empty homes reduced by 30 per cent from 260 to 183, a reduction in crime rate and 381 local residents involved in skills and learning projects.

Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing at Hastings Borough Council, said: “This review shows what can be done by a bold interventionist council determined to improve the lives of our residents.

“Central St Leonards has seen a massive positive improvement because of this focused work by council officers, local residents, key stakeholders, local councillors and organisations of all shapes and sizes. You only have to walk the area now and you feel safer, the area looks and feels lifted and positive. This review shows that a new improved social baseline has been set for the area. Of course there is still more to do, and this will be achieved when funding is found for projects. It’s areas like central St Leonards that have taken the hardest hits to the funding being cut.

“This council will keep an active watching brief on Central St Leonards ensuring that the work done over the last 15 years is built upon. We will continue to explore funding opportunities that will allow this amazing area of Hastings to continue to flourish along with all its residents.”