Page last updated at 08:18 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Resort given 2m for improvements

The improvements will bring huge benefits to the town, the council said

A town in East Sussex has been awarded 2m of government funding to improve its seafront.

Hastings was included in the latest Sea Change grants, which aim to boost regeneration in coastal resorts through culture and heritage.

The money is to be used for a piazza, performance space and cultural community centre on the Stade, in Hastings Old Town.

Hastings Borough Council said it was "delighted and very excited".

Council leader Peter Pragnell said: "This is fantastic news for Hastings and the whole area.

'Major destination'

"The exciting open space we will be creating, and improved facilities, will bring huge benefits to the town, helping both local residents and the town's visitor economy.

"Complementing the Jerwood Gallery, the Stade will become a major destination in its own right, showing off the town's fantastic fishing heritage, and becoming a showcase for the superb cultural events and activities that we are also so famous for."

The rest of the funding for the scheme will come from South East England Development Agency, and East Sussex County Council, he added.

Culture and Tourism Minister Barbara Follett, who announced the awards, said: "In these difficult economic times it is more important than ever before to make sure we continue to invest in the regeneration and renewal of our seaside resorts.

"With more people than ever before thinking about holidaying at home, the funding provided by the Sea Change programme will help to ensure that their experiences are memorable for the right reasons and inspire them to return and keep the great tradition of British seaside holidays alive."

The projects will help to attract new visitors and business opportunities and will give people "pride in their community and protecting their heritage", she added.

Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, Littlehampton in West Sussex and Margate in Kent were given Sea Change funding in October and Dover, Kent was included in the first round of grants in August.

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