Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Infrastructure Uplift
- Capital Investment - Getting Building Fund, East Sussex, Less than £2m
Expected Completion Date
Seven Sisters Country Park – 280ha of rolling chalk downland, iconic coastline and wetlands just outside Eastbourne – attracts over 500,000 visitors per year, yet is run-down, with a very limited engagement and retail offer. The barn used as a welcome point is typically closed from October-April (but has not opened since 2020) and has poor accessibility. The South Downs National Park Authority took over responsibility for the Country Park in Summer 2021 and are taking steps to implement a new business plan.
The project as a whole represents a comprehensive refresh of the visitor offer at the park, including upgraded physical and intellectual access, new toilets and 233 sqm of new retail space for local businesses. In addition, it will refurbish 3 dilapidated properties increasing the local tourism provision and providing on site accommodation for a Site Warden. The project will allow the park to open 364 days a year, showcase products from local producers and makers, signpost visitors to local attractions and businesses and provide an accessible welcome for visitors with a year round events programme. Income generated will be reinvested in the ongoing protection of this designated landscape within the South Downs National Park and in supporting a vibrant rural economy.
The Getting Building Fund funding will allow the South Downs National Park Authority to bring back in elements of the project that had to be taken out through cost saving, namely the refurbishment and kit out of the pump barn, to create a multi-use retail, exhibition, event space (total 133 sqm). This will be used as a ‘Hub’ to offer a sales outlet for small and micro businesses from across the National Park.
At the Accountability Board on 11 February 2022 the project was approved for funding and it was agreed that GBF funding can be retained against the Project beyond 31 March 2022 for a maximum period of 6 months. The project has also received Government approval of project inclusion within the GBF programme.
Award of Additional GBF funding
A new GBF prioritised pipeline was established to support projects experiencing cost increases due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit or due to high inflation levels, or seeking to extend the original project to support further phases of an existing project was agreed by the Strategic Board in October 2022.
The project was included on the new GBF projects pipeline and the award of an additional £84,100 GBF was approved by the Accountability Board on 25 November 2022. It was agreed at the same meeting that the GBF can be retained against the project beyond March 2022 for a maximum period of 12 months to 31 March 2023.
|Benefits delivered by GBF|
|Jobs||6.5 FTE created or safeguarded|
|High footfall retail space||131sqm|
|Superfast Broadband connection||1|
|Create 1 x 1 bed flat for onsite warden|
|Add to the increased footfall by supporting the additional retail space|
|Contribute to the increase in visitor spend by adding additional retail space|
£85m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock
The Getting Building Fund focuses on projects that can progress quickly and that will stimulate and better integrate economies in some of the most economically impacted and COVID-affected parts of the South East.
£85m of Getting Building Fund investment has been secured, enabling delivery of 34 projects across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
Application for Additonall GBF