A PROUD MP hopes a neglected seaside town will become the "innovation hub of the south" after it received millions in funding to transform its fortunes.

Newhaven MP Maria Caulfield yesterday welcomed the Chancellor to the town after securing nearly £13 million towards the regeneration of the area.

The money, part of the government's "levelling up" scheme, will help transform the seaside town's fishing industry, creating jobs and "boosting the wider economy".

Rishi Sunak said he hopes to bring "buzz" back to Newhaven, surprising staff at West Quay Fisheries in Riverside North, during his visit to the seaside town.

Ms Caufiled said work on West Quay - to improve the fishing stages, fish processing facility and fish restaurant - was part of a wider transformation.

She told The Argus: "That is the exciting thing about Newhaven. There is so much opportunity here.

"Rampion kind of started it but with the work we are doing on the West Quay, people are coming to Newhaven and thinking 'wow, I didn't know it was like this'.

"I've spoken to so many people who are setting up businesses here and want to employ local people.

"I think there is a catalyst. Even in the high street where we haven't started the work there, you can see new shops are opening up nearly every month."

The successful bid will provide two new fish landing stages which will accommodate 16 smaller vessels, increasing the value of their catch to 2015 levels by 2029/30.

The money will also build a new Centre of Excellence for Seafood Processing at Avis Way, creating an auction room and marketplace.

It will also go towards building a new "restaurant and community destination" complete with children’s play area, volleyball court and splash pool.

Ms Caulfield added: “I was delighted to have been able to secure this funding of nearly £13 million for Newhaven in the budget that was announced by the Chancellor in October and I have been pleased to welcome Rishi Sunak to the town to show him how this funding will transform the local fishing industry.

“These are big plans that will really help to regenerate Newhaven, on top of the over £30 million in other funding that has been approved for Newhaven.”