THREE million pounds is to be spent improving a seaside town as a place for cyclists and pedestrians to help boost its town centre.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership is backing Eastbourne town centre.

It will benefit from £3m to pedestrianise the eastern part of the town’s retail area and improve street furniture, signage, soft landscaping and install new street lighting.

The latest funding will build on the work undertaken to relocate the bus station and change the layout around Terminus Road/Cornfield Road.

This will better integrate the bus and train station and support the extension of The Beacon shopping centre.

The project is expected to be completed by June.

Christian Brodie, chairman of SELEP, said: “Shopping habits continue to change and our communities are becoming more digitally driven.

“It is vital we make our town centres more attractive places to visit, and easier and safer to get around for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The health and wellbeing of our town centres has a significant impact on the area’s economy and influences investment decisions and the ability to attract and retain staff.

“The government has recognised that town centres are where commerce and communities meet and have recently announced its Future High Streets Fund.

“We will be working with our partners to unlock financial support for forward-thinking projects to help our high streets respond to changes they face.

“The funding for Eastbourne will help it retain and strengthen its retail offer.”

SELEP has also agreed £4m of funding towards the Eastbourne and South Wealden Cycling and Walking scheme. This will deliver six elements including:

• London Road – Battle Road – Hawkswood Road – Hailsham: improved footways and improved access onto the shared use path

• Cycle Parking Hailsham: provision of cycle parking for 36 bikes

• Stone Cross – Royal Parade via Langney – Eastbourne: improvements to shared use paths and cycle crossing provisions at busy junctions

• Cycle Parking Eastbourne: provision of cycle parking for 155 bikes

• Eastbourne town centre cycle routes: provision of both on road cycle routes and shared cycling and walking routes around Eastbourne town centre

• Eastbourne town centre wayfinding: installation of finger posts and monoliths around Eastbourne town centre.

Christian Brodie added: “This important project will support the immediate and growing local demand for cycling and walking. It will help mitigate the area’s traffic congestion and support economic growth.

“As well as providing an alternative to taking a car for short journeys, it will also create opportunities and help to tackle health and wellbeing issues associated with physical inactivity.”