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North Bexhill Access Road

North Bexhill Access road: has the costcutting begun? August 2017

Luddites and violent voices: SeaChange’s spindoctor’s view of opponents of ‘regeneration’ August 2017

The North Bexhill Access road: the mystery of the money January 2016

North Bexhill Access road: planning permission without a business case? October 2015

North Bexhill Access road: don’t mention SeaChange June 2015

North Bexhill Access Road: has the cost-cutting begun?

Last year, we published an article questioning the anticipated cost of the North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR). According to funder the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), the road was going to cost a total of £16.7m. Continue reading

The North Bexhill Access Road: the mystery of the money

Here’s a question.  How much will SeaChange’s North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR) cost – if it’s built – and where would the money come from?

It would undoubtedly be public money – it always is – but how much of it is a bit of a mystery. Continue reading

North Bexhill Access Road: planning permission without a business case?

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On the route of the North Bexhill Access Road: road would run right to left through picture

On 11 September 2015,  SeaChange submitted a planning application  for the North Bexhill Access Road.  There is no date yet for the application to be considered by Rother District Council’s planning committee, but according to government guidance, major planning applications should be determined within 13 weeks, although this can be extended to 26 weeks.  Rother District Council’s planning website states that the NBAR application will be decided by 1 January 2016. Continue reading

North Bexhill Access Road: don’t mention SeaChange

Not content with the empty business parks they already have,  the new one under construction at the Bexhill end of the Link Road, and the one they would love to build over the top of Hollington Valley (if they can get over their little local difficulty with planning permission), SeaChange is putting forward proposals for yet another road, providing access to yet another business park. Continue reading

Questions asked over SeaChange Sussex giving year’s free rent to DWP for Hastings town centre offices

Press release

Seachangewatch [1]

5 June 2018

Photo: Havelock Place http://seachangesussex.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/P4243736.jpg

Contact 07565 967 250

Questions asked over SeaChange Sussex giving year’s free rent to DWP for Hastings town centre offices

Why did SeaChange offer ‘sweetener’ worth hundreds of thousands of pounds?

A document uncovered by local campaign group Seachangewatch [1] has revealed that local ‘economic development’ company SeaChange Sussex has given the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) a year’s free rent on its Havelock Place offices in Hastings town centre.

The offices, on Havelock Road, were completed in March 2015 and were supposed to create 440 jobs [2]. But over two years after completion, only one tenant had been found, occupying just 16% of the space and creating just 12 jobs [2].

In January 2018, SeaChange Sussex announced [3] that the DWP had agreed to rent Havelock Place, as well as Lacuna Place, SeaChange’s other office site in the town centre. The announcement said that the DWP would be moving its staff from their current base in Ashdown House in the north of Hastings. Seachangewatch believes that no new jobs are to be created by the move.

A document [4] from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership about the development states that, ‘There is a 1 year rent free period as part of the deal and therefore risk of insufficient income to meet full 18/19 repayment.’

The £7m offices were funded by the Growing Places fund [5]. Comparisons with other offices available to rent locally suggest that SeaChange has forfeited at least £400k in rent [6] by giving the DWP a year rent-free. Earlier this year, it was announced that SeaChange would be taking £2m from its reserves to pay for overspends on the Queensway Gateway Road and North Bexhill Access Road [7].

Seachangewatch spokesperson Andrea Needham said: “SeaChange spent £7m of public money on these offices, which they were then unable to rent. Now that they finally have rented them – although creating twelve jobs rather than the hundreds we were promised – we learn that the deal with the DWP included a year’s free rent, worth at least £400k. We would like to know why this deal was made, particularly at a time when SeaChange has serious financial problems in terms of funding its road projects locally. This latest fiasco suggests that SeaChange Sussex’s financial management leaves a great deal to be desired.”

NOTES

[1] http://seachangesussex.info/

[2] http://seachangesussex.info/380/

[3] https://www.seachangesussex.co.uk/dwp-moves-hastings-town-centre/

[4] http://www.southeastlep.com/images/uploads/resources/SELEP_StratBd_160318_Appendix_2_GPF_Project_Updates.pdf

[5] http://seachangesussex.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/havelock-place-%C2%A37m-page-001.jpg – see ‘Priory Quarter phase 3’

[6] http://seachangesussex.info/712-2/

[7] https://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/press-release-funding-for-walking-and-cycling-cut-as-money-used-to-cover-queensway-gateway-road-100-cost-increase/

Why has Seachange given a government department a year’s free rent?

Seachange Sussex have finally let their Hastings town centre offices – but have given the occupiers a year’s free rent.

In January 2018, Seachange Sussex announced that they had let their Havelock Road offices. These £7m offices, in Hastings town centre, had been virtually unoccupied for two years so Seachange must have breathed a big sigh of relief when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) agreed to let them. Continue reading

£2m funding cut for walking and cycling to fund Queensway Gateway Road 100% cost increase

East Sussex County Council were probably hoping that nobody would read the document enticingly named ‘Local Growth Fund – Amendments to spend profiles 2017/18‘. But we did, and what we found out was pretty worrying.

What the document shows is that the budget for two local roads being built by ‘regeneration’ company SeaChange Sussex have risen massively. Continue reading

Queensway Gateway road: ‘Project overspend is likely’

In July 2016, local group Combe Haven Defenders (CHD) sent out a press release demanding to know why SeaChange Sussex were forecasting that the cost of the Queensway Gateway road (QGR) would be only £6m, a £9m reduction on the original £15m predicted cost. Continue reading

Luddites and violent voices: SeaChange spindoctor’s view of opponents of ‘regeneration’

For several years, Tariq Khwaja, of TK Associates has been the public face of SeaChange Sussex. He’s been there at every ‘consultation’ and every Bexhill Hastings Link Road ‘construction exhibition’; he  is nearly always listed as the ‘spokesman’ for SeaChange in press releases (which he presumably writes); and he generally ensures that anyone who actually works for SeaChange – most notably director John Shaw – is almost entirely invisible, and hence utterly unaccountable. Continue reading

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