Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has asked for an update in parliament about plans to extend high-speed rail services to the town.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Caroline said that the tennis tournament puts Eastbourne on the map as a visitor destination but its potential is wrapped up in the town’s transport links.

She then asked the transport secretary: “In that light, what progress has been made with Network Rail’s proposals to extend high-speed services to Eastbourne to enhance those links to the continent, London and the north?

In reply: Grant Shapps said: “My honourable friend serves her constituents incredibly well.

“A strategic outline business plan for high-speed services from St Pancras to Eastbourne is in, and I can confirm that the status of the project will be updated very shortly, in the rail network enhancements pipeline.”

Speaking afterwards Caroline added: “I am pleased a decision on this project is now close. I have made the case for it with relevant ministers and pushed hard that our town needs these enhanced connections to Europe and London in particular to secure and then grow our visitor and language school sectors that have been so badly hit by covid.

“This is not a quick fix but a long-term project that will benefit generations so I do understand it is a big decision but one I want to see earmarked for Eastbourne.”