There was both delight and dismay across the Westcountry when the winners and losers of a £27million fund to boost the fortunes of seaside towns were unveiled.
Among those to reap the benefits of the massive cash injection was an ambitious £1.7million scheme to regenerate the seafront at Teignmouth and a boost for a major beach development scheme in West Cornwall.
However, a project to boost the fortunes of a landmark lido in Penzance, which recently took a pounding in the storms, failed to win financial support.
At Teignmouth however, the talk was only of celebration when it was announced they were the biggest single Westcountry winner in the £27million Coastal Communities Funding (CCF) programme.
Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council's executive spokesman for health and wellbeing, said the money to create a new arts and performing hub on the existing Carlton Theatre site would boost the fortunes of the whole area.
“This is wonderful news and confirms that Teignmouth is seen by the CCF as a resort of great potential,” she said.
“The new Carlton Pavilion will attract jobs, encourage investment and help showcase the wealth of artistic talent we have here in Teignmouth.
“After so many years the dream has now become a reality and I am thrilled that at last I can say with confidence that we are going to have a new centre in the heart of our town bringing opportunities, regeneration and leisure all of which are critical to the economic health of Teignmouth and the district as a whole.”
The new centre for Teignmouth will mean a 210-seated auditorium, work units, a function space and cafe with outside seating. The project will create around 60 jobs in total.
In West Cornwall, the Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa will receive £525,000 to support an ambitious multi-million beachfront regeneration project which will create more than 65 jobs, a water sports centre, conference and wedding room plus a community hub.
Project manager and hotel owner Stephen Baker said: “The beachfront regeneration will benefit the local community and local economy, and help to reduce the seasonality of the tourism industry in West Cornwall.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall added: “The awarding of the Coastal Communities Fund grant is excellent news not only for the Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa, but also for the wider Cornish tourism industry.
St Ives MP Andrew George also welcomed the funding package.
“I’m delighted that the Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa has been awarded this grant which will support its beachfront regeneration project,” he said.
“I know many will be pleased that the project intends to contribute to sustainable economic growth.”
East Devon Council meanwhile won a little over £300,000 from the CCF to help
regenerate the town of Seaton by building a visitor attraction using its Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site credentials.
The project involves the construction of an interactive visitor centre in the town centre to tell the story of the Jurassic Coast – England’s first Natural World Heritage Site.
The project will also provide enhanced access to the South West Coast Path, the Axe Estuary Wetlands, the Undercliff National Nature Reserve as well as the beach and rockpools on the foreshore.
In Somerset, YMCA at Bridgwater will
use £332,000 to establish a training and skills hotel by refurbishing and transforming the disused Beach Hotel, Minehead into a modern, working hotel offering varied accommodation with multi use space and restaurant.
It will create new jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships in the Somerset coastal town, improve employment prospects through skills development and training, attract new customers to Minehead.
However, there were also losers and Cornwall Council expressed its disappointment that its bid to carry out improvements to the Jubilee Pool, an art deco lido in Penzance, failed.
Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for partnerships, said it was a blow in the short term, although he said he was “encouraged by the positive” comment from the CCF team who indicated they would welcome another bid.
Since the bid was submitted the pool has sustained significant storm damage and will remain shut this season.
Mr Paynter said: “The council is committed to exploring how to secure a sustainable future for Jubilee Pool. We met with the local Cornwall Councillors, representatives of Penzance Town Council and the Friends of Jubilee Pool last week to discuss how to achieve this and we will continue to work closely with them to that end.”