PROFITS of £2 million from Eastbourne’s pay-to-park scheme will be invested back in the town centre regeneration.
The money, which East Sussex County Council has collected through its unpopular on-street parking in the town centre, will be put back in to Eastbourne over the next four years to help support redevelopment of the Arndale Centre.
The county council investment will support and complement the proposed £70m investment by Legal & General, by paying for the road network to be changed accordingly.
The £2 million improvement works will cover Terminus Road from Bankers’ Corner to Grove Road. The works will deliver an improved pedestrian environment.
It will also provide better pedestrian links between the railway station, main shopping areas and Eastbourne’s specialist shopping streets such as Grove Road.
The money will help with the reorganisation of the bus stops in Terminus Road and provide better cycling facilities. It will also provide new paving, street furniture and new pedestrian signage.
The funding was agreed by the lead cabinet member for transport and environment, Councillor Carl Maynard, at a meeting on Monday (July 23).
Councillor Maynard said, “Supporting this project is clearly in line with our ambitions to encourage economic regeneration across the county.
“Given the financial climate at this particular time, I feel we are very lucky to have a commitment from Legal & General to invest in Eastbourne through such a significant development as the Arndale Centre.
“It is a fine example of how the public and private sector can work together on an initiative for the benefit of the local community.”
Cllr David Elkin, leader of Eastbourne Conservatives, added, “We want to see our shops occupied to full capacity, businesses thriving and jobs created, especially for our young people in Eastbourne.
“This investment by the county council supported by funding from Legal & General is a huge step forward to the regeneration of our town centre.”
Many businesses and Eastbourne’s Lib Dem council campaigned against the pay to park scheme when East Sussex County Council took over the on-street parking enforcement from Sussex Police back in 2008, as they thought shoppers would go out of town.
However, the news that the profits from the parking scheme are now being invested back in the town has been welcomed.
Councillor David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said, “I welcome this investment as part of the transformation of Eastbourne town centre. The sum that East Sussex County Council is spending over four years is similar to the amount that pay to park takes out of the Eastbourne economy every year.
“When they embarked on the scheme the county promised they would spend any profits made on local highway improvements. We have been waiting a long time for this to happen and I am pleased that they are now delivering on this promise.”
Josh Lamprell, manager of Taboo jewellery shop in Grove Road, said, “When the pay to park came in I think it did affect things for us. I know people moan about the parking so it is good to see the money made is going back in to benefit Eastbourne businesses.
“I just hope the Arndale Centre regeneration encourages customers to come down to the businesses in Grove Road too.”