Policy paper

2010 to 2015 government policy: economic development in coastal and seaside areas

Updated 8 May 2015

This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-economic-development-projects-in-coastal-and-seaside-areas–4. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.


Coastal communities are a major part of the UK, with more than 10% of the population living in coastal areas and many more visiting the coast for both business and pleasure.

In recent years, coastal cities, towns and villages have faced unique challenges. While some have successfully reinvented themselves, others have suffered significant economic decline. For example, coastal areas are, on average, more likely to have lower levels of employment than other areas of the country.

The government is committed to investing in coastal cities, towns and villages to help their economies to grow and to support them to reduce unemployment and deprivation.


In response to the challenges faced by coastal areas, we created a Coastal Communities Fund to help coastal towns and villages provide training and employment opportunities and to stimulate economic growth.

There have been 3 rounds of funding under the Coastal Communities Fund, with successful projects announced under the first 2 rounds in August 2012, February 2013 and March 2014.

More information on the progress of the projects funded under round 1 and round 2 can be found in the Coastal Communities Fund annual report.

Some successful projects under round 3 were put on an accelerated timetable and were announced in August 2014 and October 2014.

The main announcement of successful round 3 projects was made on 26 January 2015.

Overall, the 3 rounds of the Coastal Communities Fund are providing 98 projects in England with £90 million. These projects are forecast to create over 10,000 jobs.

On 27 February 2015 the government announced a programme of Coastal Community Teams. Through this programme, coastal areas are encouraged to establish local partnerships, including the local authority and community and business groups, to work together to produce a plan for the economic development of the area.

Partnerships are able to apply to be a Coastal Community Team and, if approved, will receive £10,000 of grant funding to develop and progress their plans. Coastal Community Teams will also have the opportunity to bid for capital funding to support local projects.

See the prospectus and application form for Coastal Community Team status.

Also announced was a new £3 million Coastal Revival Fund. This will provide small capital grants to help secure the future of heritage and community assets in coastal areas. Further information on the Coastal Revival Fund will be published soon.


The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Select Committee’s report on coastal towns, published in 2007, recognised that many coastal communities shared a number of common characteristics, including:

  • physical isolation
  • high deprivation levels
  • inward migration of older people
  • large numbers of people passing through without settling
  • outward migration of young people
  • poor-quality housing

A 2008 study by DCLG similarly concluded that, taking account of a range of socio-economic indicators, the larger English seaside towns are, on average, more disadvantaged than England as a whole. It was also noted that there was high unemployment among seaside town residents.

More recent statistics from the 2011 census looked at the characteristics of coastal cities, towns and villages and found that residents of coastal communities were less likely to be employed and more likely to have a long-term health problem than residents of other areas. However, the analysis also demonstrated that there is a lot of diversity between different coastal areas.

Who we’re working with

We are working with the Big Lottery Fund, who are managing the Coastal Communities Fund. We are also working with the Coastal Communities Alliance, who are supporting the Coastal Community Teams programme.

Appendix 1: Coastal Communities Fund

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Coastal Communities Fund is funded by the government with income from the Crown Estate’s marine assets. Funding has been made available in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Fund is managed in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund.

More information on the successful projects can be found on the Big Lottery Fund’s website.

Further information on progress by round 1 and round 2 Coastal Communities Fund projects can be found in the annual report.

All funding in the current Coastal Communities Fund programme has now been committed. Any decision on the future of the Coastal Communities Fund will be made at a later date.

Appendix 2: Coastal Community Teams

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Coastal Community Teams are partnerships in coastal areas around England made up of local authorities, community groups and business.

They will work to produce economic plans for the development of their area.

Applications to be a Coastal Community Team are now open.

Appendix 3: Coastal Revival Fund

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Coastal Revival Fund is a £3 million capital fund to help support local heritage or community assets to have new economic uses. More information on this capital funding will be published soon.