Funding boost for seaside resorts

SEASIDE resorts in Suffolk and Essex could be in line for a share of �24million to help them grow and prosper.

The Government launched its Coastal Communities Fund yesterday.

A variety of organisations can apply for a share of the �23.7m pot, which has been created to provide resorts with money to support new opportunities.

Naomi Tarry, chairman of the Aldeburgh Business Association, which is a member of the Heritage Coast Market Towns Initiative, said they would be working with their partners in Saxmundham and Leiston to see how they could best use the fund.

“From what I have seen so far it is very encouraging,” she said. “We will definitely want to see how we can bring some of those finances to our area. We will get together with our partners in other towns and decide on the best way forward.

“I just hope it’s not too restrictive and that small communities such as ours will be able to make a case for themselves, rather than just concentrating on larger resorts such as Southend or Hastings.”

Andrew Rowdon, chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “I think that any kind of scheme like this can only be good. However I hope that the red tape is not too difficult so that everyone can take advantage of it. It has been a difficult couple of years for all seaside towns and if the Government can help it has to be a positive thing.”

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Successful applicants can expect to get a grant of between �50,000 and �2m. The money could be spent on a range of projects from skills training and apprenticeships through to small-scale transport schemes.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he would like to see bids from social enterprises, charities, local businesses or local enterprise partnerships. “This is a great opportunity for long overlooked seaside towns, large and small, to grab a chance to grow through imaginative and innovative projects that create skilled workers, and provide year round jobs that build stronger local economies,” he added.

The fund will be financed by revenues from the Crown Estate’s marine assets.