Seventy projects around Britain’s coastline have had a cash lift from a government fund of more than £36m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG).
The funding, ranging in size from £30,000 to £5m, is being given to projects supporting innovative businesses, protecting historic buildings, new museums and restoration of heritage sites.
The latest investment represents 26 awards from the fifth round of the government’s Coastal Communities Fund and 44 awards from the third phase of the Coastal Revival Fund in 2018-19, and comes on top of more than £180m from both funds invested in around 350 projects so far across the UK.
MHCLG claims that the 26 Coastal Communities Fund projects will collectively support more than 15,000 jobs, and attract up to £40m in additional investment from public and private sector sources.
The projects being funded include £472,000 to establish England’s first commercial seaweed farm Seagrown, in Scarborough. It’s currently a two-person operation that harvests wild seaweed by hand for haute cuisine restaurants and the bathroom cosmetics industry, but there are hopes that seaweed cultivated at the farm can be used in the future to manufacture bioplastics.
And Blackpool Council has received £1.75m for a new museum, ‘Amuseum’, on the Golden Mile, to tell the story of Blackpool as a seaside resort.
The biggest funding boost was £5m towards ‘Unlocking East Quay’, a regeneration and social enterprise project in North Somerset to provide workshop and studio spaces, boat owner facilities, offices and tourist accommodation.
While the funding will be welcomed by cash-strapped councils, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the £13 billion in EU funding that UK regions will lose after we exit the European Union.
The Local GOvernment Association said while the funding was welcome, council investment in tourism, a non-statutory service, had “fallen by half since 2010 due to reductions in council’s core revenue grant”.