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TOWNS FUND FOR NEWHAVEN - UPDATE

November 4th, 2019.

Latest update from Cllr. James MacCleary:


The District Council is leading on Newhaven's bid to the government's recently-announced Towns Fund. Last week we were given information on the kind of bids they are looking for and the council's team will now get to work on it.


It is important to know that this is distinct from the Future High Streets Fund which the District Council is also bidding for. Newhaven was shortlisted for that some months ago and we expect to hear about that some time next year (government bidding processes are very slow).

The Towns Fund has become very controversial as it is clear that the Conservatives are attempting to use it for political gain. This has including using public funds for targeted Facebook advertising aimed at key marginal constituencies like ours which is on a knife edge between the Lib Dems and Tories.

The shortlist for the Towns Fund is based on that for the Future High Streets Fund with the most conspicuous difference being the appearance of a number of extra towns which also happen, (by coincidence), to be marginal Conservative target seats.

This has become so serious that it has led to complaints from MPs - www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50263197 - and in an unprecedented move led to Facebook itself taking down the government's adverts - www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50270727

The fund may see 'up to' £25 million available for investment in Newhaven. However, there is no guarantee of this. The timetable is long, and could easily fall by the wayside after the election.

I have called out our current MP, Maria Caulfield, on her misleading statements on the Towns Fund where she has tried to claim that she has got guaranteed funds for the town. That is not true and does not help anyone. As a local resident myself, I'm sick and tired of hearing about grand plans with huge pricetags that never seem to happen.

I am hopeful that the Future High Streets Fund and Towns Fund may yield a significant investment in Newhaven over the next few years, but in the short term we remain focused on filling up the empty shops in the town centre, improving the appearance of the town, attracting new businesses and getting the kind of quick wins that will show people our town is a great place to live and work - not just somewhere to dump your waste.


Cllr. James MacCleary