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Crowborough snubbed in £600 million investment boost

By Craig_Courier  |  Posted: April 08, 2014

The South East Local Enterprise for East Sussex focuses mainly on the coast

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CROWBOROUGH and Northern Wealden are set to miss out on a growth fund worth £600 million as most of the cash will go to the south coast.

Last week a new action plan, which sets out how to grow the economy in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Essex was published, with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership asking for £1.2billion investment in the South East - £600 million in East Sussex.

However most of this money has been earmarked for the south coast with places such as Bexhill, Polegate, Battle, Hastings and Eastbourne being the beneficiaries.

The only scheme that will directly affect Crowborough is mooted improvements to the Uckfield to London railway line.

Despite being the largest town in Wealden, Crowborough is not mentioned in the report.

Uckfield could benefit as a package of improvements to improve the accessibility to the town centre is one of the priorities listed.

LEPs were created in 2011 with local authorities and private firms partnering up to bid for Government money.

These groups discussed what should be the priority schemes for their area and submitted them as part of a seven year action plan.

Money could go to improvements on the A21 from Hastings to Flimwell.

The report, written by former East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones, says the best places for growth in East Sussex are between Hastings and Bexhill, Eastbourne and South Wealden and in Newhaven.

The plans have been submitted to central Government and Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark, who is in charge of the LEPs as part of his portfolio, will decide if funds are released.

The county council said other areas would benefit from the cash even if it was not directly linked to them.

A spokesman said: “We worked closely with all the East Sussex district and borough councils to draw up a list of sites where there was viable opportunity for growth and where that growth was needed. The schemes are centred on three “growth corridors” focussed on the A21 and A259 around Bexhill and Hastings, the A22 and A27 linking Eastbourne and south Wealden, and Newhaven, where the focus will be on renewable energy and clean/green technologies. Because the majority of investment within the Growth Deal is aimed in these areas does not mean business/ residents in other parts of the county will not benefit from this. In addition there will be opportunity across East Sussex for all areas to bid into various funds that will potentially be available from 2015, including European Funds.

“The county council exists to serve all the people and communities of East Sussex and remains committed to providing high quality services and appropriate investment in all parts of the county. There are currently specific funds, that will be available at least until spring 2015, offered by East Sussex County Council that support the growth of local businesses across the county.

“It is important to point out that the South East LEP will not know if it is successful in its Growth Deal until the summer.”

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  • xPositor  |  April 08 2014, 9:38AM

    Over the years we have seen money invested in the more southerly reaches of the county and district - even WDC relocating to Hailsham. Whilst improving the lot of the "deprived" areas is with merit, to do so at the expense of other areas is somewhat short-sighted. It does appear that the drive by those in power at ESCC and/or WDC is to improve those deprived areas whilst allowing the more "affluent areas" (by their determination) to decline, presumably meeting somewhere in the middle.