Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Denham – New support for seaside success

Denham – New support for seaside success

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 25 March 2010

A new strategy to help all seaside towns flourish by restoring iconic piers, creating new jobs, and improving local housing was announced today by Communities Secretary John Denham.

The Government wants to ensure coastal areas are best placed to take advantage of their natural resources and assets, historic infrastructure, and high quality of life, as well emerging green industries - to develop strong and successful local economies.

Many seafronts have been transformed through Government investment and support since 1997 such as Scarborough, St Ives and Roker and the new strategy aims to extend the seaside renaissance tackling the unique challenges coastal areas face.

"Strategy for Seaside Success; securing the future of seaside economies, includes a commitment to work with the Heritage Lottery Fund to find ways to further extend their work in restoring iconic piers, which are of critical public value; a new £5 million fund for 25 priority areas to create jobs, support business and improve skills of the long term unemployed; new licensing rules for councils over Houses in Multiple Occupation to tackle problems around low quality seaside housing; and a pledge to extend the SeaChange Programme, which has already pumped £38 million into improving seaside infrastructure in 32 areas, beyond 2011.

Mr Denham made the announcement on a visit to Hastings where he saw the work going on to regenerate the area including the new Jerwood Gallery and Foundation at the historic beach huts.

John Denham said:

"Our coastal areas are rich with history and a high quality of life that makes them attractive places to live in and many seafronts have been transformed in recent years with Government investment and support.

"Places like St Ives, Hastings and Scarborough are showing they can thrive once again through strong local leadership and dynamic businesses, no longer dependent on British weather, attracting visitors all year round. There is no reason why our other seaside towns can’t flourish in the same way.

"Today I'm announcing a new strategy that will help each coastal area take advantage of the new opportunities and support available - from restoring piers and creating jobs, to improving local housing, and funding creative projects that will develop stronger economies and help ensure the successful future of the British seaside."

Patrick Browne of the Coastal Communities Alliance (CCA) said:

"The creation of a national Coastal Towns Strategy, the retention of SeaChange and the additional funding to address entrenched social problems within our historic resorts, will delight regeneration practitioners who have long campaigned for such recognition.

"Seaside towns are immensely attractive and popular places, but their distinctive social and economic structures can maintain worklessness, benefit dependency, low educational attainment and poor health, all of which are costly for the individuals and families involved and for the providers of coastal public services. New solutions and visions are required for our emotive coastal resorts.

"The new "coastal strategy" provides the framework for new thinking, while the additional funding should enable new local solutions for addressing corrosive coastal deprivation. The CCA warmly welcome these developments".

The strategy sets out details for the following:

- A new £5 million Seaside Towns Grant to help priority seaside towns tackle long term jobless - each council will receive £200,000, including £1 million for South West, £1.2 million for North East and £1 million for South East.

- A pledge to extend the SeaChange Programme which has already pumped £38 million into improving seaside infrastructure in 32 areas beyond 2011;

- Heritage Lottery Fund to look at how more support can be given for iconic piers which are a unique part of a seaside’s historic infrastructure. The fund has already given more than £234 million to 864 projects in English coastal resorts since 1997;

- New licensing rules for councils over Houses in Multiple Occupation will help tackle problems around low quality seaside housing; looking at what else is needed to prevent dodgy landlords getting caravan site licences;

- Powers to bring unused properties and coastal land back into use quickly through new ‘Meanwhile Leases’;

- Support for a ‘Seasiding’ campaign with festivals to attract cultural investors and strengthen non-seasonal economies to help them become year round visitor destinations;

- Neighbourhood policing will help tackle local concerns about anti-social behaviour (ASB) and crime in seaside towns. Three coastal areas have been chosen to develop Neighbourhood Agreements, covering local standards of service and priorities for action – Portsmouth, Newquay and Berwick. Government will also look into the impact of day visitors;

- New UK offshore wind farms licenses could be worth £75 billion and create 70,000 new jobs, many of which would be in coastal areas, by 2020;

- Interest free energy efficiency and renewable energy loans to help small business buy energy saving equipment;

- Regional Development Agencies and Tourism Boards like Visit Britain to give maximum promotion to seaside towns in their region;

- Seaside proof public sector services to strengthen co-operation through single regional strategies, with Regional Minister as seaside champions, and delivery of online services personalised to seaside town needs
Greater devolution and Regional Development Agencies are already helping to strengthen powers councils have to drive forward regional economic development.

For example, councils in four areas - Fylde Coast; Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole; Merseyside and Pennine Lancashire - have all signed up to single development plans called Multi-Area Agreements.

The North West Development Agency has invested over £200 million in coastal towns and the East of England Development Agency has invested over £86 million in areas including Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Southend.
Money from the Working Neighbourhoods Fund and New Deal for Communities has also been targeted at 21 coastal authorities.

In addition, many seaside towns have already proven they can transform themselves from high seasonal unemployment to year round thriving businesses. In 2009 Scarborough won the most enterprising town in Europe and Lowestoft was named most enterprising in Britain.

Notes to Editors

1. Strategy for Seaside Success; securing the future of seaside economies" is available at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/citiesandregions/strategyseasideeconomies

2. Seaside local authorities to each receive a £200,000 grant: South East - £1 million to 5 South East seaside authorities

Portsmouth (Southsea)
Eastbourne
Hastings
Thanet (Margate)
Brighton and Hove

South West - £1 million to 5 South West seaside authorities

Plymouth
Cornwall
Torbay
Torridge (Bideford)
West Somerset (Minehead)

North East - £1.2 million to 6 seaside authorities

Durham (Seaham)
Hartlepool
Northumberland (Newbiggin by the Sea)
Redcar and Cleveland (Redcar, Saltburn by the Sea)
South Tyneside (Marsden, South Shields)
Sunderland (Roker)

North West - £0.8 million to 4 seaside authorities

Barrow in Furness Piel Island
Blackpool
Copeland (St Bees, Seascale, Whitehaven)
Wirral

Yorkshire and Humberside - £0.4 million to two seaside authorities

North East Lincolnshire (Cleethorpes)
Scarborough
East Midlands - £0.2 million to one local authority
East Lindsey (Skegness, Mablethorpe)
Eastern Region - £0.4 million to two local authorities
Great Yarmouth
Tendring (Clacton on Sea)

3. The Coastal Communities Alliance (CCA) recently published "Coastal Regeneration in English Resorts – 2010"

4. The Coastal Communities Alliance is a virtual network of coastal regeneration practitioners and organisations who seek to promote new solutions to the complex and unique range of social and economic issues in our coastal resorts. Further details at: www.coastalcommunities.co.uk

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