What is the Towns Fund?
The Towns Fund is a funding scheme launched by the Government for towns like Hastings to improve their economy and benefit all parts of its community. More information about the scheme can be found in the Town Fund Prospectus.
The government invited 101 towns to develop proposals for a Town Deal, as part of the £3.6 billion Fund. Hastings was one of the towns across the country eligible to bid for up to £25m from the Town Fund with the opportunity to bid for more money from other national funding streams, as well as other sources including private. The Hastings Town Deal is being managed by Hastings Borough Council, as required by government, with the Hastings Town Deal Board acting as ambassador and advisor. It covers the whole of the Hastings borough, although projects are targeted towards Hastings town centre and employment gateway sites (such as industrial estates).
The Town Deal funding can only be used for capital projects - such as new or repurposed buildings, places or assets and must refer to the impact COVID-19 has had on the town.
The Town Deal board and council developed what funding was required; and how these projects fit with the vision, challenges/ambitions and wider longer-term plan for the continued regeneration of the town.
The Hastings Town Investment Plan was submitted for assessment and approval by government on 29 January 2021. The plan was then approved on 8 June 2021 and an offer of £24.3m of funding was made by the Government via a Heads of Terms document. The board and the Hastings Borough Council Town Deal Project Team will over the next year work with project leads, stakeholders and the community to shape and develop the details of the projects to bring them to life, through business cases before then being delivered.
This funding will deliver jobs, homes, skills, regeneration and action to reduce our carbon emissions.
What is the Hastings Town Deal?
The Town Deal is the agreement signed by government, the Town Deal board and the council, as lead organisation for the project. The Town Deal (or Heads of Terms agreement) is signed once the government has assessed and approved the Town Investment Plan, including its request within it for funding. There will then be up to 12 months to develop the specific detail of these projects through business cases. COVID-19 meant that the timescales for the Town Deal were changed by government in June 2020 to allow towns more time to develop their investment plan and consider how COVID-19 is impacting the economy.
The Town Deal process allows Hastings to access 'Towns Fund' funding and deliver the vision and ambitions in the Investment Plan over the next six years and beyond. It will also enable the town to secure additional 'match' or 'leveraged' funding to increase the money coming into the town and support the implementation of a Town Deal. Offering an opportunity for Hastings to address many of the remaining social and economic challenges in the town as a whole and create a more resilient and secure future.
How will the plans be developed for the deal?
A 'Town Deal Board' was established in January 2020 in accordance with the guidance detailed in the Town Fund prospectus. It includes businesses, community representative organisations, public sector and other partners committed to improving the town. The board advise on the development and delivery of the Town Investment Plan over the next six years, with the council as lead partner.
What is the objective of the Town Deal programme?
The Town Investment Plan represents the board's vision and ambition for Hastings and will help them towards taking steps to achieving many of their objectives and benefit all parts of the community and businesses. It is a prospectus for the future, showing both public and private funders and investors that Hastings is open for business.
You can find out more about the Hastings Town Deal on the Hastings Town Deal blog.
You can find out more about the Government's Town Deal on the Government's website.