New funding could benefit Sidmouth if it can ‘get act together’

A £40 million pot of government cash could help regeneration projects such as Port Royal in Sidmouth if the town can ‘get its act together’.

A £40 million pot of government cash could help regeneration projects such as Port Royal in Sidmouth if the town can ‘get its act together’.

Last week, the government revealed a further round of funding to help coastline communities across the UK.

In the first three rounds of the scheme, the South West benefited from over £24 million but of this East Devon only managed to secure £500,000 which was used for the Seaton Jurassic Centre.

A Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce spokesman said: “There is clearly a chance available to secure funding for regeneration sites such as Port Royal or to combine with other East Devon towns to promote tourism in our area.

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“Dorset has recently secured several millions from the Coastal Community Fund to support a string of tourism initiatives but we don’t seem to be able to get our act together to pursue these opportunities.

“Any bid to this fund will have to come from a combination of an imaginative proposal, overwhelming support from the community and a well crafted and thought through submission.”

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The Coastal Communities Fund aims to boost economic growth and jobs by attracting more visitors to the Great British Coast. So far it has helped 278 regeneration projects around the country with £170 million. In turn, this has helped to see two million more people spending an additional £171 million visiting coastal communities across the UK.

East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire has urged community groups and organisations across the county to bid for their share of the cash.

He said: “This new funding will help attract even more tourists to our coast and help our seaside towns and coastal areas thrive.

“With so many Brits choosing to stay at home for their holidays each year I am pleased that East Devon has already received a share of funding, boosting the local and regional economy, and I would encourage other charities and community groups in the area to see how they could make use of this fund.”

An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said the council had successfully obtained £500,000 of the funding for its Seaton Jurassic project, which opened in 2016.

She added: “We look forward to reviewing the latest information from the Department for Communities and Local Government in relation to this funding opportunity and will be giving consideration over the coming weeks in relation to any opportunities that we and others might be able to pursue.”

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