Restaurant, arts venue & high ropes course eyed up for Clacton seafront

Clacton's new sea defence scheme during construction.

Clacton's new sea defence scheme during construction. - Credit: Archant

A range of new visitor attractions are being tipped for a stretch of north Essex coastline in a bid to attract millions of tourists.

Tendring District Council (TDC) has long-stated its aim of further regenerating the seafront between Clacton Pier and the Holland Haven Country Park in the wake of new beaches created by a £36million sea defence scheme.

The projects would help generate income for the council ahead of an anticipated £140,000 beach recharge cost in around 10 years’ time.

A report to be discussed by senior councillors next week has now outlined what some of those attractions could be.

The highest priority plans include providing 12 new beach huts, developing the business case and planning permission for a new cafe, and an “aerial trekking” high ropes course.

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The council’s regeneration officers also want to see:

• A bike hire scheme to allow people to pedal along the seafront from Frinton to Clacton

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• An arts and entertainment venue

• A signature restaurant

• A water sports centre

• A “glamping” (glamorous camping) type scheme

• An arts/sculpture trail

• Development of a small number of aspirational houses.

At Holland Haven Country Park a pond area could be cleared to create a feature picnic area, while hides could be added to attract bird watchers.

Nick Turner, district councillor for coastal protection, said: “This is a way forward, a start to what we need to do to make our seafront cutting edge.”

TDC is proposing to spend £1m from its New Homes Bonus to kick-start the projects, £20,000 of which will be used to develop the seafront cafe.

The sea defence scheme, paid for by the Environment Agency, TDC and Essex County Council, has protected 3,000 properties from flooding or falling into the sea. A second phase, part-funded by Anglian Water, is planned for next year to stabilise cliffs in the area.

Altogether the regeneration projects aim to encourage some of the 13 million people who live within a two-hour drive of Clacton, or overseas tourists arriving in Harwich, to visit the resort, generating both direct income for TDC and wider benefits for the local economy such as creating jobs.

The report states: “By harnessing the potential of the new beaches as a catalyst for regenerating this stretch of coastline, this report sets out an ambitious package of projects and initiatives designed to promote positive action and a step-change in the perception of Clacton as a visitor destination.

“This hitherto under-utilised stretch of coastline provides the opportunity to create an additional offer to residents, tourists, businesses and investors.

“Increased footfall provides opportunities for new businesses to be established which cater for the needs of those on the beach, those who travel along the promenade and those that take part in water based activities.”

The report will be debated by TDC’s cabinet on Friday at the Clacton Town Hall from 10.30am.

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