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£10 million for coastal resorts in first wave of sea change grants

£10 million for coastal resorts in first wave of sea change grants

DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT News Release (082/2008) issued by The Government News Network on 1 August 2008

A new 20,000 capacity performance space, a revitalised Napoleonic fort and improved facilities at a world class heritage site will all go ahead in England's coastal towns following the award of over £10 million from the Government's Sea Change programme.

Details of the projects to be funded in Blackpool, Dover and Torbay were announced today by Culture and Tourism Minister Margaret Hodge. The DCMS scheme aims to boost regeneration in coastal areas through investment in culture and heritage. These are the first grants to be awarded in the three year programme, which will give £45 million to coastal resorts and is being led by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Margaret Hodge, Culture and Tourism Minister, said:

"The Sea Change scheme is all about kick starting regeneration through cultural investment in our seaside communities, helping to preserve their heritage and encouraging new and exciting projects. I'm delighted these fantastic plans for Blackpool, Torbay and Dover are now going ahead. Not only will they encourage new visitors to the area but they will also help support and enrich the community.

"These three large grants are the first in this programme and I hope they will inspire other coastal resorts to dream up similar innovative and creative plans."

Blackpool will receive £4 million to create a 20,000 capacity outdoor performance space to showcase cultural events on the central seafront, enhancing its reputation as the capital of dance. In addition, the streetscape from the Tower to the Headland will be redesigned and enhanced.

Plans for a possible cable car at a heritage site in Dover from the Western Dock to the Castle will be developed after just over £3.8 million was awarded to the city. Improvements around the historic castle, including updating the secret wartime tunnels, will allow new presentations of its history and heritage. The Bleriot Monument, which commemorates the first cross channel flight will also be refurbished.

Torbay is the third seaside resort to benefit from a large grant with just over £2.2 million being awarded to develop two projects in their English Riviera Geopark. Artistic regeneration is at the heart of the plans with the creation of ten new studios as well as gallery space and a refurbished visitor centre. The funding also means people will have better access to the amazing heritage and natural environment of the landscape of Berry Head on the Edge, which is home to a Napoleonic fort and the largest guillemot colony on the Channel coast.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said:

"English coastal towns can look forward to the summer trade that comes with more and more people rediscovering all that these places have to offer for a great holiday or weekend break.

"So I am delighted that Blackpool, Dover and Torbay are going to benefit from £10 million funding. This will help these towns prosper further, as more attractions become available for both tourists and residents to enjoy.

"Like others, these three towns have been working hard to secure their economic futures, in improving all their local industries, including tourism. I am sure this funding will be welcome support for their continuing efforts."

CABE Chief Executive Richard Simmons, commenting on behalf of the partners said:

"Blackpool, Devon and Torbay have all demonstrated a fresh approach to the use of design and culture to aid regeneration.

"What is important about these projects is that they embed good design and culture as a catalyst for quality place making to benefit the community and visitors alike."

Notes to editors:
1. The Sea Change programme runs for three years from 2008 to 2011, giving £15 million each year to seaside resorts. It is led by CABE working with the Regional Development Agencies, English Heritage, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. It was announced in November 2007. DCMS press notice 147 which refers to this can be found at http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/media_releases/2155.aspx .

2. For further details and how to apply for the open application grants please visit the CABE website. http://www.cabe.org.uk/ The deadline for year one applications has now passed. Decisions on those projects which will receive funding will be taken later this year.

3. The exact amounts awarded in this first wave are as follows:
Blackpool- £4 million, Dover - £3,850,000, Torbay - £2,247,532.
The local authorities representing the three areas had to submit their business and project management plans to CABE along with proof they were able to match funding of at least 100 per cent.

4. For further information about the specific plans and or photos and images please contact the relevant RDA or local authority.

5. For general seaside images please email kheaton@cabe.org.uk with your request details.

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