May 31, 2012
A number of proposed town centre revitalisation schemes will go ahead in Eastbourne despite an initial bid for money as part of the government’s Portas Pilot bid not being successful.
A number of volunteers from the business community in Eastbourne, including independent and national retailers, the Chamber of Commerce and local shopping centres, submitted a strong bid to be one of 12 pilot towns to share a £1.2m fund under the Portas initiative.
Although the first bid was not successful, the same Town Team will submit a second bid following news that the government will award another £1.2m to 12 more towns later this year.
However, Eastbourne Borough Council recognised the commitment and energy of the Town Team and the value of the schemes it was proposing.
As a result, the authority has earmarked its own £100,000 investment fund to help make the regeneration schemes a reality. The money, approved by Cabinet at a meeting on Wednesday, will enable the Town Team to deliver some of the projects outlined in its Portas Pilot bid.
The Town Team has welcomed news of the fund as the latest positive boost for Eastbourne’s economy following L&G’s announcement that it is pressing ahead with the proposed Arndale Centre extension.
Town Team spokesperson Lucy Newport, who runs the Eastbourne Framing centre, said: “There is no doubt that the feel good factor in Eastbourne is rising with many new fantastic opportunities for the town’s economy.
“With the news that Legal & General will be going forward with the regeneration of the Arndale Centre, the town centre being awarded £100,000 from the local council, the Olympic torch passing through on July 16th, the Eastbourne Carnival parade on June 2, shops and restaurants in the town decorating their windows for the Jubilee weekend and the weather, we can all truly celebrate being the Sunshine Coast.”
Council leader, Cllr David Tutt, said: “I am really impressed with both the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by the Town Team and am delighted that the Council is able to support their initiatives with a £100,000 fund to ensure that some of their great ideas can become a reality.”
The Town Team will now submit a detailed business plan on how the council fund should be spent. The Portas Pilot scheme was set up following a review by retail expert Mary Portas which set out 28 recommendations on what a successful town centre should demonstrate.