AN ambitious portfolio of projects, which could benefit Lyme Regis and Charmouth, progressed a stage further in the government’s Coastal Communities Fund this week.
The bid for funding, known as ‘Gateways to Business Growth in Dorset’ is being led by Dorset Coast Forum, which has now been invited to proceed in the second stage of the application process.
It includes projects in Swanage, Weymouth, Portland, Lyme Regis and Charmouth, and will now be worked up in detail ready for the next stage of assessment in January 2019.
The portfolio aims to improve these key business areas in Dorset by making enhancements which will benefit local businesses, encourage new businesses to the area and increase tourism.
Natalie Poulter, Dorset Coast Forum co-ordinator, said: “We’re really pleased that Dorset’s portfolio has been selected to go forward to the next stage of the process.
“This fund is very competitive and our selection shows the strength of the broad concepts and the strong track record Dorset has for making the most of the funding we’ve received previously.
“We’d like to thank all our partners for helping to get the bid this far.”
Looking ahead to the next stage of the application, Natalie added: “It’s important that these projects are worked up with consultation and input from a wide range of stakeholders and the different community groups at in each area.
“We are looking forward to working with all those relevant groups in the coming weeks to help us get the final submission right for the communities involved.”
If successful, ‘Gateways to Business Growth in Dorset’ would bring an additional grant of £2.36million to Dorset, matched by almost £2million additional funding from a range of other sources.
The local components of the funding bid, put forward by the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Coastal Community Team, include the following:
- Interpretation (£80,000) – Providing directional, seafront and historical town information that encourages visitors to explore Lyme, Charmouth & Uplyme along and adjacent to the seafront and river valley, thus increasing footfall in the museum and other venues and enhancing the visitor experience. By integrating the coastal and inland pathways with the town and village centres, the project plans to encourage a broader experience, enjoying local food and drink and increasing dwell time and consequent expenditure with local businesses.
- Development and promotion of walking routes (£10,000) – To improve ‘legibility’ of the town, integrated with signage/interpretation as outlined above, and linking to the improved River Lim Path.
- Disabled access around Lyme Regis town and gardens (£20,000)
- New Lyme Regis seafront railings (£60,000)
- Lyme Regis Theatre Square demountable marquee (£25,000)
- New beach access at Charmouth (£295,000)
- Riverside footpath to link east and west Charmouth beaches (£15,000)
- Visit Lyme promotional material (£55,000)
The team will now submit the detailed application to the Coastal Communities Fund in January 2019 and expect to hear whether or not it has been successful in April 2019.
The Coastal Communities Fund is administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to support projects which generate jobs and invest in regenerating England’s seaside towns and countryside.
Dorset Coast Forum has a strong track record for delivering projects such as this, and is currently delivering Dorset Coastal Connections, a £5.6million portfolio from the previous round of the same fund.
The forum is an independent, non-political partnership organisation which promotes a sustainable approach to the management, use and development of Dorset’s coast to maintain its natural and cultural qualities for the benefit of future generations.
Its members and partners are from the public, charity and private sector, and it has a core team hosted by Dorset County Council and based at County Hall in Dorchester. The team works with forum members to develop and deliver strategic projects for the coast’s wider benefit.
For more information, visit the website www.dorsetcoast.com