Coastal Communities Fund extended

The UK government has announced that its Coastal Communities Fund is increasing. The five per cent rise in capital will extend the pot to £29 million and it will now continue until 2016.

Launched in 2012, the fund is designed to improve the economic viability of the country’s seaside towns and villages, especially those that are much in need of regeneration.

The Centre for Social Justice think tank has conducted research that backs this up, revealing recently that seaside towns are not making any progress and therefore are suffering from “severe social breakdown”.

By boosting the economic potential of these important regions, there is real scope for big-time investors to use services like PropertySales and pump cash into commercial properties, which will ensure that any developments that take place do so with a lasting legacy in mind.

“The fund will support around 5,000 jobs and has created hundreds of opportunities for local apprentices in new charitable, entrepreneurial or social enterprise schemes,” commented Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.

“Growing marine revenues from the Crown Estate have allowed us to increase the fund by five per cent and I urge projects to get their bids ready for round three when it opens next year.”

Recent figures from the office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that there is a lot of work to be done and therefore a considerable amount of potential for commercial investment, be it hotels for sale or retail outlets.

For example, the ONS stated that 25 of the 31 “large” English seaside towns have above average levels of deprivation. This includes places like Clacton, Skegness, Hastings and Blackpool.

In restoring seaside towns and villages to their former glorious selves and bringing them fully into the 21st century, the government expects to see more business opportunities emerge, for local employment to see significant growth and for local people to benefit professionally and personally.

The Coastal Communities Fund requires tenders to outline a detailed regeneration plan, and projects have to show how they will meet a commons set of goals. One of the key criteria that has to be met is showing how “coastal communities are better able to use their assets (physical, natural, social, economic and cultural) to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs”.

Some of the activities supported involve maintaining and developing tourist infrastructure; creating new workplaces that help to support and grow local economies; improving small-scale and sustainable transport initiatives; and investing in social enterprises that make better use of local assets.

“Many seaside towns have particular challenges and the Coastal Communities Fund is another way we’re helping them tap into new business opportunities, creating jobs and new skills that will benefit the whole community,” explained Greg Clark, financial secretary to the Treasury.

“Through measures like the Coastal Communities Fund, City Deals and work with Local Enterprise Partnerships we’re putting civic leaders, residents, local businesses and civil society organisations in the driving seat; helping seaside towns around the country strengthen their local economy.”