A new £3 million fund will help kick-start the revival of at-risk coastal heritage that has potential to create opportunities for new businesses and jobs.
The Coastal Revival Fund will support communities looking to unlock the economic potential of those hard-to-tackle buildings, facilities and amusements such as piers, lidos and proms.
It will boost local economies by tapping into the opportunities that the heritage economy offers to new businesses and existing firms keen to grow on the back of the revival of local coastal sites.
Grants will be used to get restoration projects underway by funding initial work that will be a catalyst that attracts additional financing from the private and charitable sectors. It will unlock the community good will that is a key driver in getting projects started.
The fund will support projects that demonstrate the creativity, enterprise and passion needed to help seaside towns become year round destinations that people want to live and work in and has the potential to kick-start the revival of the remaining lidos and piers currently not reaching their full potential or facing neglect.
The National Piers Society has said that Weston Birnbeck Pier, Bognor Pier, Herne Bay Pier, and Swanage Pier are some of the historic structures that could benefit.
Seaside areas will also receive support from new Coastal Community Teams. More than £1 million will be provided for 110 teams which will create a long-term vision and strategy for their area to tackle the specific challenges their coastal town faces.
Coastal towns and villages often have individual projects underway that seek to boost the local economy and create jobs – such as a publicly funded skills scheme, a high street revival programme, or plans by the council – but they often work in isolation.
The Coastal Community Teams will bring all these elements together so all projects and proposals are part of a shared long-term vision that works together to promote local economic growth.
The Teams build on the hugely successful town team model for high streets which is successfully revitalising town centres across the country.
Each Coastal Community Team will be awarded £10,000 to establish themselves and will receive advice and support from the Coastal Communities Alliance.
Communities will be able to bid for a share of the new heritage fund to tap into the potential local heritage has to benefit the surrounding economy and wider community.
Coastal Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt said:
There is enormous potential in our coastal areas that we are determined to unlock so they can rise up and create new jobs and play a key part in our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain. The announcements we are making are about building capacity and opportunity in our coastal communities.
Our new heritage fund is an important catalyst for drawing in additional funding and community good will that will get the revival of hard-to-tackle local coastal attractions underway and support new businesses.
Coastal Community Teams will be essential for pulling together a shared vision that makes that most of local heritage, skills and know-how that can make our seaside towns and communities thrive.
Nicola Radford from the Coastal Communities Alliance said:
The Alliance is delighted to be leading on the Coastal Community Teams programme in partnership with DCLG. We see this opportunity as recognition of the hard work of all our members in raising awareness of the unique economic issues affecting coastal communities and look forward to seeing many new and successful initiatives arising from the establishment of the Teams.
The government is committed to supporting coastal communities through our £116 million Coastal Communities Fund which is funding 211 projects across the UK. The fund is creating almost 12,400 jobs and providing more than 6,000 training places and apprenticeships.
Details of how to apply to be a Coastal Community Team and further information about the Coastal Revival Fund - Heritage Restoration: Economic Regeneration will be published shortly. If you would like further information on these schemes in the short term or to register your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fund and coastal teams complement our broader work to put communities up and down the country in greater control of their local area. Our Community Rights support package will see even more communities take action - from regulars running their local pub and protecting other treasured assets to ambitious plans for new development, new jobs and better targeted services.
The National Piers Society has produced a list of piers including those that could benefit from the Coastal Revival Fund.
Bognor Regis Pier Trust
In partnership with the owner the Trust are planning to bring the pier back into community ownership, and to help with preserving, restoring and enhancing it as part of the overall regeneration of Bognor Regis.
The Trust aims to return the pier to the elegant and traditional attraction of yesteryear, and to secure its future by protecting it from further damage or loss to its structure.
Herne Bay Pier Trust
In 2009 Canterbury city council agreed to the formation of the Herne Bay Pier Trust whose key focus is the preservation, renovation, reconstruction and enhancement of Herne Bay Pier.
The Trust’s long-term vision is to see the pier brought back to its original glory by reconnecting the isolated pier head with the pier neck.
Friends of the Old Pier Society/Birnbeck Regeneration Trust
The Friends of the Old Pier Society is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 1996 to save the magnificent Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare. The pier is unique as it is the only British pier that links the mainland with an island.
Sadly, the pier has been closed to the public since 1994 and is included on the ‘At Risk’ Register compiled by English Heritage. The long-term vision is to return the pier to community ownership and restore the pier as a tourist attraction and community asset.
The National Piers Society in conjunction with the Trust is in the process of launching a RIBA architecture design competition. The Trust is also working with the University of Bath to develop viable business plans for the pier.
Swanage Pier Trust
The Swanage Pier Trust is the overall managing body and took control of the Swanage Pier Company at the end of 1994 with the aim of restoring and maintaining the pier for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.
Operation, maintenance, and further development of the pier (the pier museum, shop and café, fishing facilities, diving facilities, events programme, boat trips) as a tourist attraction and community asset is the Trust’s overarching objective.