Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has toured Black Robin Farm where some of the Government’s £20 million Levelling Up Fund money will be spent.
Caroline was instrumental in the town receiving the cash after she endorsed the bid last year.
She was shown the vacant farmhouse due to be turned into makers studios. The site of the nearby barn will be dedicated to the creation of an Eric William Ravilious gallery – a tribute to the Sussex artist who was inspired by the Downs. Original materials from the barn will be redeployed in the new build to the greatest extent.
An education centre, a plot for growing food and kitchen and cookery classes are also part of the plans, Caroline was told.
“It was good to see first-hand how the plans are coming and the development work taking place at Black Robin Farm,” said Caroline.
“This Levelling Up money has the potential to transform the farm and become an important visitor destination as part of the wider spend in Eastbourne.
“During the bid process I also spoke of the mission critical need for jobs and skills training to be part of it. That work is in its earliest form and is an aspect I will champion at every juncture. I am pleased it is to be taken forward by East Sussex College.
“The Towner Gallery too is also keen to deliver the Natural History GCSE through Black Robin. I championed this new qualification in Parliament and to see it rolled out locally is great news.
“There is still much of strategic importance to establish before we see this project come into focus. Transport links are totally key. The Farm must be readily accessible from and to the town centre for the project to be a success. This is no small challenge, set as it is in the South Downs National Park with all the sensitivities you would expect. I will continue to press on this also.”
A full planning application is likely to be lodged in the summer.
Levelling Up Fund guidelines stipulate the project needs to be delivered by March 2025 at the latest.