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Sea Change ship comes in for England’s coastal towns

Sea Change ship comes in for England’s coastal towns

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 12 November 2009


Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster is being restored to its former glory, one of our finest Victorian railway stations will be transformed, and fishermen’s cellars from the 1800s will be refurbished as the latest round of the Government funded Sea Change programme is announced.

Seven coastal resorts across the country from the South West to the North East are receiving a grant including, Plymouth, Barrow-in-Furness, Fleetwood, St Ives, Roker, North Tyneside and Margate. The Sea Change programme, funded by DCMS, is designed to invigorate England’s seaside towns through investment in culture and heritage.

Margaret Hodge, Culture and Tourism Minister, said:

“What I love most about the Sea Change programme is the huge variety and diversity of the projects that receive funding. What’s exciting is that many of these grants will enable our seaside towns to celebrate their fantastic heritage and history whilst at the same time making the services and cultural facilities they offer completely relevant for the future.

“Sea Change is all about investing in culture and heritage to stimulate regeneration in coastal towns that are struggling.”

CABE Chief Executive Richard Simmons commenting on behalf of the Sea Change partnership said:

“These seven projects all demonstrate how culture can be a catalyst to recapture the flair that these places enjoyed in their heyday. I especially like the plan to regenerate Dreamland in Margate, and showcase the country’s oldest rollercoaster and a listed scenic railway. It is ambitious projects like this, creating new national attractions, that can rekindle the English love affair with our seaside.”

Margate has been awarded £3.7 million to help fund an ambitious project to rejuvenate the town’s Dreamland Amusement Park. This includes plans to restore a collection of historic amusement rides many of which are the last surviving examples of their type. The listed scenic railway and the oldest surviving rollercoaster in the UK will be restored and the Grade II* listed Dreamland cinema will also be given a facelift.

In North Tyneside a Sea Change grant of £2 million will help transform the Grade II* listed Tynemouth station, arguably one of the finest and most important examples of a Victorian railway station in Britain. The funding will ensure the historic canopies on the building can be repaired, and the plans also include enhancing the existing exhibition space.

A £1 million grant for Roker, in Sunderland will help revive the town as a thriving historic coastal resort. Sea Change funding will be used to create a trail inspired by the area’s heritage and culture and also create an illuminated exhibition space.

The historic fishing industry in St Ives will be celebrated with a Sea Change grant of £900,000 to take forward plans to redevelop and restore the 200 year old Grade II* listed Porthmeor Studios. The complex faces on to the beach and epitomises the connection between the town, fishing industry and local artists. As part of the project, new studios will be created and two of the old fishermen’s cellars will be refurbished.

Fleetwood, in Wyre will receive funding of £835,000 to create a performance and recreational space on the seafront at the North Parade. The scheme will reflect the viking, roman and neolithic history of the resort. A mythic trail along the coast will be developed and an observation centre for local bird and wildlife created, as well as a public art programme which will see local artists compete to design and manufacture artwork that will then be displayed in three locations along the coast.

A new visitor centre on Piel Island in Barrow-in-Furness will be created with a Sea Change grant of £280,000. The new centre housed in a refurbished building at the Grade II listed Ship Inn will also provide information about local heritage and orientation for walkers.

And a development grant of £100,000 for Plymouth will help develop plans for relocating the Plymouth Arts Centre on the Hoe. The plans are for a centre that will house two cinemas, as well as education and production spaces along with a cafe.



1. The Sea Change programme runs for three years from 2008 to 2011, giving a range of large and small grants 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


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