Wealden District Council now has a senior officer to support development of its growing commercial strategy.
Kelvin Williams became Head of Development projects yesterday (May 1) to work on schemes aimed at providing the council with an income stream from profit-making enterprises.
The council’s embarked on its commercial strategy, which also aims to meet local needs, because of cuts in central government funding would otherwise mean an increased burden would fall on the council taxpayer to keep services going.
Mr Williams remit is to work on the development plans for the council’s recently-acquired Vicarage Field shopping centre in Hailsham, along with town centre development plans for Hailsham and Uckfield.
The Uckfield Town Centre Reinvestment Project is coming up to a crucial moment.
Redevelopment plans, which would centre on the west of the High Street, have stalled because of an inability to find an anchor tenant for any new shopping centre.
Uckfield Town Council, along with Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council, as major landowners in the area, are members of a joint regeneration committee which in January last year agreed to hold fire on any decision until the summer of this year when members would see if the re-investment project could be realised.
Wealden District Council’s first two ventures as part of its commercial strategy were a crematorium near Horam and Sussex Weald Homes, the council’s wholly-owned housing company
Mr Williams, in his new role, will provide assistance to the housing company.
The purchase of the Vicarage Field shopping centre was announced just before Christmas last year.
Mr Williams was formerly Head of Planning and Environmental Services. He will retain the management of the shared building control service, with the aim of progressing it to an arm’s length company model.
The shared service is between Eastbourne Borough Council, Rother District Council and Hastings Borough Council – the East Sussex Building Control Partnership was formed on April 1, 2017.
The principal partner under the agreement is Wealden, with the service being based at the council 0ffices in Hailsham.
These will be his last roles with the council before his planned retirement at the end of the year.
*The crematorium is due to open in the winter of 2018/19
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