Cabinet councillors have today (Thurs Sept 24) agreed to drive ahead with ambitious plans for the former UTC building which will create jobs and further boost Newhaven's economic growth.
This comes after the government announced £1.3 million towards Lewes District Council's redevelopment of the landmark last month through the Getting Building Fund, and a council commitment to put forward £500,000 in required match-funding.
The Grade II listed building, which has floorspace of around 55,000 sq ft, has been empty for more than a year since it closed as a technical college.
Under the council's plans, the large building will contain space for education and learning, as well as commercial space, all of which is focused primarily on maritime and sustainable technologies. There is also potential to accommodate a central reception for a range of public services.
Councillor James MacCleary, Leader of Lewes District Council and Cabinet member for Regeneration and Prosperity, said: "The redevelopment will be fantastic for the future of Newhaven, of which I am a proud resident, breathing new life into this landmark building which is sadly out of use at the moment.
"By providing for a number of different uses, we are building in flexibility and ensuring this is a sustainable venture so that each hub can take on additional space or operate with a smaller footprint, as needs arise."
The council will now seek to secure a new tailored lease arrangement for the building to reflect the proposed use for it.
Major work to renovate the building and create internal spaces for the hubs is expected to start in January 2021 and will take about a year to complete.
The former UTC building occupies part of Railway Quay, within the Newhaven Enterprise Zone.
Councillor MacCleary added: "This is going to be a huge asset for Newhaven and links in perfectly with our plans already underway for the Railway Quay Hub, offering an information hub for visitors, a refreshment outlet and cycle hire.
"Everyone in Newhaven has had enough of grand plans that come to nothing. This investment along with Railway Quay shows how the council is delivering on getting our town the investment it has long deserved. We will continue working to attract more support and adding for the benefit of people who live and work here."