The council’s wider regeneration programme has included a number of reports and initiatives focusing on the sea-front, recognising its importance at local and regional levels.
The 2005 Hastings and Bexhill Seafront Strategy explained how the seafront is the town’s premier asset, regarded as vital in efforts to reposition the resort as an attractive place in which to live, invest, work and visit.
One aim of this strategy was to stimulate investment by enhancing the seafront, creating a series of linked ‘destinations’ spanning Bexhill and Hastings, making environmental improvements, and identifying new development opportunities.
For Bexhill, the strategy recommended strengthening links with the town centre, improving the townscape along the Promenade, enhancing the range of outdoor events offered, and improving the ‘evening economy’ to complement the draw of the refurbished Pavilion. There is recognition that the De La Warr Pavilion is the principal catalyst for the town’s social and economic renewal, with potential for its benefits to be distributed more widely.
Other cultural regeneration efforts in the town include a Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme between 2002 and 2006, which encompassed town centre public realm improvements and repair to shop-fronts. Bexhill is also part of the EU’s Coastal Treasures project, promoting the architectural heritage of resorts on both sides of the Channel.
Bexhill Museum is also about to reopen, following extension and refurbishment by John McAslan + Partners, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Rother District Council also has aspirations for wider additional regeneration initiatives, including a new mixed-use development in the town centre. Other issues recognised as hampering economic development in the town include relatively poor transport links - there are ambitions for a link road improving access to Hastings and the A21 - as well as a lack of high quality hotels.