Ideas for investment projects to be funded as part of the £25m Hastings Town Deal must be submitted by next Friday (25th September). That is the deadline for “Expressions of Interest” to be received by the Town Deal Board, with the Board’s full and final proposals required to be submitted on to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) by 31st January next year.

In the meantime four stand-alone capital build projects were put forward to the MHCLG last month as an “accelerated” first phase of the Town Deal, each being selected as capable of completion by the end of March – as follows:

• White Rock Baths: re-development of the derelict remainder of the Source Park site – the units around the outdoor courtyard are to be refurbished as market-style retail and food outlets;

• East Sussex College building at Station Plaza: part of the ground floor to be re-purposed to offer a job seeking centre that connects employers, careers advisors and employability organisations, also providing a conferencing/training facility and a tourism training hub for students;

• Electric vehicle charging: fast charging points to be installed in seafront and town centre car parks;

• Lower Alley, Claremont (behind Hastings Library): New retail, training and outdoor space to be developed in the alley.

Approval – or rejection – of these projects is expected to be received from the MHCLG within the next couple of weeks. 

In the meantime, other projects are jockeying for support and will have been considered by the Board in a meeting last week, though no minutes have yet been released.

Project West Marina

Among these is Project West Marina, a proposal from local residents banded together in three separate groups – SOBS (Save Our Bathing Site), West Marina Org, and the West St Leonards Forum. Together they aim to revive a wide area of West St Leonards centred upon the former bathing pool site, West Marina Gardens, the Bo Peep parade and West St Leonards Station as “a fully rounded destination for residents and visitors” – and as an alternative to the mixed housing and leisure project for the pool site which Hastings Borough Council has been seeking to promote over the past two years.  

As reported last month in HIP 158 (Deal Us In), these local proponents have noted an absence of representation of their area among the 21 Town Deal Board members, but have been seeking the support of constituency MP Sally-Ann Hart, who has a seat on the Board. During the parliamentary election campaign last November/December she went on record as opposing the council’s housing development plan, and she recently attended a meeting on site with the proponents of the alternative project which has been submitted to the Board. Whether she argued for it at the Board meeting last week is not known. 

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.