How Hastings might spend £20m over the next ten years (2024-2034) from the ‘Long Term Plan for Towns’ funding allocation

How Hastings might spend £20m over the next ten years (2024-2034) from the ‘Long Term Plan for Towns’ funding allocation

What is the ‘Long Term Plan for Towns?

The plan was launched in October 2023, and the Prime Minister has stated it is to help deal with run-down town centres, empty, boarded-up shops, discarded rubbish, appalling antisocial behaviour and people left angry and frustrated by the neglect.

Fifty towns around the UK were selected to receive money to help with these issues.

Hastings was one of those towns, and over the next seven years the government will hand over a total of £20m in annual payments that must be spent over a ten year period.

Importantly, the government want people, not politicians and councils, to decide what their town needs.

In Hastings the money will probably be shared between the main town centre, Old Town, St Leonards, Ore, and Silverhill, generally focusing on projects that will improve the main retail areas in each.

There are three broad themes under which spending can take place:

  • Safety and security
  • High streets, heritage, and regeneration
  • Transport and connectivity

At present we are awaiting confirmation, but the initial guidance is that 75% of the money will be for capital projects (physical building work and long-term assets), and 25% will be for revenue items such as salaries and smaller items of expenditure.

In order to make decisions on what projects to deliver a local board will be created, chaired by a prominent and respected local person with ‘an obvious passion for the place’, who will initially be selected by the council and local MP.

Membership of the board will include a wide range of organisations, but the final make-up will ensure it is community-led.

The council has been given £50,000 to establish this board by 1st April 2024, and there will be a further £200,000 available to run community consultations and develop the full plan by 1st August, after which the first payment will be released.

The plan will need to put forward detailed proposal for the first three years, with broader strategic aims clearly set out for the remaining seven years of the programme.

Full details of the guidance can be found here.

Examples of projects that could be supported and funded

The government have set out a range of powers that can be used alongside the funding, as well as setting out a ‘shopping list’ of areas of spend which can be looked at without the need for a business case being developed.

The powers include:

  • new and improved security infrastructure, such as CCTV and streetlights
  • additional hotspot policing
  • local authority wardens
  • preserving and improving heritage sites in the town
  • creating and maintaining parks and green spaces
  • establishing Business Improvement Districts
  • running high street rental auctions
  • new transport infrastructure schemes
  • road improvements, such as fixing potholes or improving congested junctions
  • new programmes to encourage cycling
  • making the town centre more walkable and accessible

The ‘shopping list’ is fairly extensive and covers the following areas:

Safety and security interventions

S1: Design and management of the built and landscaped environment to ‘design out crime’. This might include:

  • promoting the active use of streets and public spaces throughout the daytime and evening
  • improvements to streetlighting
  • installation of new CCTV

S2: Engage with Police Force and together consider interventions to focus on visible crime prevention in defined areas places. Interventions could include:

  • hotspot policing
  • problem-oriented policing

S3: Measures to prevent anti-social behaviour, crime and reduce reoffending. These might include:

  • sports programmes designed to prevent crime and reduce reoffending
  • mentoring
  • police-led pre-charge diversion models for young offenders
  • focused deterrence strategies
  • halfway house programmes

S4: Measures to reduce repeat burglary. These might include: 

  • Neighbourhood Watch
  • provision of crime prevention advice
  • property marking
  • target hardening (increasing the security of a property)
  • cocoon watch (provision of crime prevention advice, support and guidance to neighbours and surrounding addresses of burgled properties)
  • alley gating

High streets, heritage and regeneration interventions

H1: Funding for place-based regeneration and town centre and high street improvements, which could include better accessibility for disabled people, including capital spend and running costs. This might include:

  • regenerating a town square or high street
  • public realm improvements, for example street furniture or other decorative improvements
  • the delivery of outreach, engagement and participatory programmes for community spaces, including youth centres and public libraries

H2: Funding for new or improvements to existing, community and neighbourhood infrastructure projects and assets including those that increase communities’ resilience to natural hazards, such as flooding, and support for decarbonisation of facilities, energy efficiency audits, and installation of energy efficiency and renewable measures in community buildings (including capital spend and running costs). This might include:

  • building new or updating existing defences to increase communities’ resilience to natural hazards like flooding or costal erosion

H3: Creation of and improvement to local green spaces, community gardens, watercourses and embankments. Improvements to the natural environment and the incorporation of more of these natural features into wider public spaces. This might include:

  • development of a new park, particularly in areas with the least access to greenspace
  • development of a new park or community garden
  • improvements to a canal towpath, particularly in more deprived neighbourhoods
  • urban or riparian tree planting
  • changes to management of green spaces and verges
  • regeneration of existing parks or community gardens, particularly in areas with poor quality parks and gardens
  • improving access to existing parks

H4: Enhanced support for arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities, projects and facilities and historic institutions that make up the local cultural heritage offer. This might include:  

  • the delivery of events programmes for community spaces, including youth centres and public libraries
  • the development, restoration or refurbishment of local natural, cultural and heritage assets and sites

H5: Support for local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities. This might include:

  • funding for maker spaces
  • funding for local art galleries, museums, libraries for exhibitions
  • support for displays for artists to showcase work
  • locally led music and theatre performances, tours, author events and film screenings
  • funding for cultural, heritage and creative events
  • support for outreach, engagement, participatory programmes as part of wider local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities
  • support for the establishment and development of cultural, heritage collaborative networks to share knowledge locally

H6: Funding for the development and promotion of wider campaigns which encourage people to visit and explore the local area. This might include:

  • campaigns promoting the local area and its culture, heritage, leisure and visitor offer to residents and visitors
  • campaigns to encourage visitors from further afield to visit and stay in the region, collaborating with other places where appropriate

H7: Funding for impactful volunteering and social action projects to develop social and human capital in local places. This might include:  

  • funding for local volunteering groups, such as youth charities and carer’s groups
  • support for people to develop volunteering and social action projects locally

H8: Funding for local sports facilities, tournaments, teams and leagues; to bring people together. This might include:

  • renovation and maintenance of existing sports facilities
  • support for community sports leagues
  • regeneration of an unused area to build sports facilities
  • creation of new 3G sports pitches and other sports facilities

H9: Investment in capacity building, resilience (which could include climate change resilience) and infrastructure support for local civil society and community groups. This might include:

  • funding for community spaces, such as village halls, libraries or community centres for local civil society and community groups to use
  • support for people to develop volunteering and social action projects locally

H10: Investment and support for digital infrastructure for local community facilities.

H11: Investment in open markets and improvements to town centre retail and service sector infrastructure, with wrap around support for small businesses. This might include:

  • funding to support the establishment and ongoing running of a new open air market
  • business support activity for entrepreneurs

H12: Funding for the development and promotion (both trade and consumer) of the visitor economy, such as local attractions, trails, tours and tourism products more generally. This might include:

  • development of local visitor trails and tours
  • grants for the development, promotion and upkeep of local tourist attractions
  • development of other local visitor experiences based around the local offer

H13: Grants to help places bid for and host international business events and conferences that support wider local growth sectors. This might include:

  • grants to bid for, secure and hold a conference for a leading sector locally

Transport and connectivity interventions

T1: Support for active travel enhancements in the local area. This might include:  

  • creation of new foot paths and cycle paths, particularly in areas of health need or social inequalities
  • upgrading of existing foot paths and cycle paths, particularly in areas of health need or social inequalities

T2: Funding for bus infrastructure and connections to speed up journeys. This might include: 

  • traffic signalling improvements
  • bus lanes and corridors
  • improved passenger information

T3: England and Scotland Only: Additional revenue funding added to the Bus Service Improvement Programme Plus (BSIP+) funding model from June 2024 – that would award funding to LTAs based on a connectivity scoring so they could undertake activities that would boost economic growth. 

T4: Funding for new, or improvements to road networks to improve access within and to the town. This might include:  

  • traffic management improvements to relieve congestion
  • road safety
  • highway maintenance (including potholes)

T5: Funding to improve rail connectivity and access. This might include:

  • adding stations along existing lines
  • improved accessibility and journey quality at and around stations
  • improved passenger information

T6: Reducing vehicle emissions. This might include: 

  • EV charging facilities
  • procuring zero emission buses

T7: Investment and support for digital infrastructure for local community facilities.