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New coastal teams to help local economies thrive

Authored by News Desk
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 11:52

Seaside communities are being urged to create dedicated Coastal Community Teams to drive forward economic regeneration and a long-term vision, by new Coastal Communities Minister Mark Francois today (16 June 2015).

The government is providing over £1 million to set up 110 Coastal Community Teams to deal with the specific economic challenges faced by seaside towns and take forward a local strategy for success.

In a letter to coastal MPs, the minister said the creation of these new teams would make sure the economic recovery is felt across the country – helping areas deal with specific coastal challenges and achieve their potential to develop strong and vibrant local economies.

Coastal Communities Minister Mark Francois said: "Unlocking the potential of our seaside towns is a priority for this government and securing the economic recovery in all parts of the country.

"We want communities to drive forward their vision, harness local expertise and make the most of their local heritage to create jobs, unleash business opportunities and boost the local economy.

"The creation of a coastal community team will be a catalyst for change and help secure the future of our seaside towns. I urge seaside towns to come forward and take this opportunity."

Coastal towns and villages often have individual projects underway to boost the local economy – such as a publicly funded skills scheme, a high street revival programme or plans by the council – but these can work in isolation. The creation of a local team will ensure, for the first time in some areas, that local people, councils and businesses work together in a coordinated way.

The creation of Coastal Community Teams builds on the successful town team model for high streets which is revitalising town centres across the country. The first 12 Coastal Community Team pilots were announced in March 2015.

See details of how to become a Coastal Community Team. The deadline for applying to be a Coastal Community Team is 30 June 2015.

Along with each area being awarded £10,000 to kick-start work, coastal teams will also be able to bid for a share of the new £3 million coastal revival fund to support or restore local heritage and facilities which benefit the wider community and the surrounding economy. Details of how to apply for this will be available in the summer.

The government is committed to supporting coastal communities and since 2012 has spent over £117 million funding 222 projects across the UK through the Coastal Communities Fund. The fund is creating almost 12,400 jobs and providing more than 6,000 training places and apprenticeships.

Nineteen of the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships are in coastal areas and as part of the government’s growth deals, over £700 million has been committed to projects in these areas to improve transport infrastructure, broadband connectivity, improving flood defences and improving opportunities for local people.

Eight out of the 24 enterprise zones are in coastal areas which offer incentives for businesses to start up or expand including Business Rates relief, superfast broadband and simplified planning. Coastal enterprise zones have delivered over 5,300 jobs to date and helped to secure nearly £275 million of private sector investment to coastal areas.

Two enterprise zones in coastal areas – Blackpool and Plymouth – were announced in the Budget.