Cash boost for seaside towns brings new jobs and wealth to Westcountry
Nine seaside towns and coastal areas across the region are to receive Government cash injections to create jobs and foster new business.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the successful bidders for funding yesterday, including four in Devon, three in Cornwall and one each in Somerset and Dorset.
Money will be spent on skills training, rejuvenating old heritage and leisure facilities and helping businesses to embrace digital technology.
Mr Pickles said: "It's a missed opportunity if we don't tap into the huge potential our coastal towns have to welcome new industries and to diversify their economies so they can become year-round success stories.
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"This money will help these towns tap into new business opportunities that will create jobs and boost skills that will benefit the whole community."
Torbay Council receives £1.38m for start-up and home-based businesses, social enterprises, an apprenticeship scheme and a green tourism initiative in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay, resulting in 322 jobs.
Alan Denby, director of economic strategy for the Torbay Development Agency, which put the bid together, said: "This is fantastic news and recognition both of the need for investment in Torbay and the strong programme that the partnership developed."
Plymouth City Council gets £670,400 to kick-start the waterfront with cycle hire hubs and cycle route improvements to link up existing waterfront areas – 56 new jobs are on the cards.
In Devon's South Hams, 19 jobs will come as a result of a £450,347 grant to boost the local fishing industry.
The grant has been given to the South Devon Fishing Industry Development consortium.
Money will be used to turn hundreds of tons of lobster and crab shell into a high-value agricultural product to sell to farmers. Currently, most waste from crab and lobster fishing has to be dumped in landfill at a cost, although a large proportion is air freighted abroad for processing.
One of the main partners in the venture is Churston Soil Improvement.
Richard Haddock, who heads the organisation, said: "Everyone emerges as a winner, from the fishing sector, which will see a cost turned into a profit, to the farmers who will have access to a high-grade soil improver at a time when conventional fertiliser prices are going through the roof."
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust's £150,000 grant will enhance its rolling stock by acquiring a second heritage carriage for use on a narrow gauge steam railway, meaning 20 jobs will be created.
In Cornwall, Cable and Wireless Porthcurno and Collections Trust are to receive £149, 587 to develop the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum with a new learning centre, new galleries, visitor centre and cafe – 15 jobs are promised.
A £100,000 grant for the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Project will help the town become Britain's first solar-powered town, bringing 20 more jobs to the area.
The Porthleven Regeneration Community Interest Company, which applied for the grant, will get £99,570 to train youngsters and fund a community marquee – 22 new jobs are in the pipeline.
Cornwall councillor and project leader Andrew Wallis said: "Having a community marquee which will also be used commercially will help facilitate many more events and bring new money and jobs into Porthleven."
Swanage Railway Company Ltd in Dorset receives £1.46m, with 50 jobs, while Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust in Somerset gets £500,000 for the structure, heritage and visitor centre improvements, with 16 new jobs promised.