Local groups should stake their claim to a share of the £1m of new money to be made available through Coastal Revival Fund (CRF) announced by government minister Jake Berry in Bournemouth yesterday.
Hastings MP Amber Rudd speaking immediately after the new pot of money was announced said: “I encourage any interested organisations to apply for funding to help secure a new future for our local coastal heritage assets.”
Individual grants of up to £50,000 will be available under the new round of CRF funding. The money is targeted at bringing ‘at-risk’ coastal heritage sites back into economic use. It can help fund repairs and restoration or support feasibility studies to help develop plans to regenerate assets which are difficult to use. Since 2015, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has provided £3.7 million to 92 projects through the Coastal Revival Fund, helping deliver projects that have saved and used heritage assets for the benefits of local coastal communities.
There is a Coastal Communities Team (CCT) in place which is intended to focus its efforts on the economic regeneration of four geographical wards of the town; Old Hastings, Castle, Central St Leonards and West St Leonards. The CCT says, “These wards each have their own historical identity offering unique economic and social opportunities.”
The group was set up in 2015 and is coordinated by Hastings Borough Council. Last year the group was successful in securing a grant worth £812,770 for a new project called ‘Destination White Rock, Hastings – Continuing the Economic Revival’.
Its vision for Hastings is to create a, “thriving, vibrant, unique coastal community, with a prosperous economy, better connected, skilled… a place where people are proud to live and work and visitors want to visit again.”
On its website the CCT says its vision will be achieved through
- Improving the visitor economy to support wider growth;
- Improving the evening economy and promenading;
- Developing and supporting all year round quality cultural activities and supporting local organisations to deliver these activities;
- Encouraging and supporting enterprise start-up/growth (including social enterprises and creative businesses) to create jobs and economic activity
- Supporting large and small scale private and public investment opportunities;
- Changing visitors and non-visitors perceptions of Hastings and encouraging an increased sense of pride amongst the local community;
- Improved transport links to the town – particularly by rail
- Creating stable neighbourhoods and populations
- Leading and delivering change from a local level
Ms Rudd says: “The Government is committed to supporting our coastal communities, to allow them to flourish and strengthen their appeal as places to live, work and visit.
“The opening of applications for the CRF is a fantastic opportunity for our residents to preserve the economy, history and culture of our beautiful towns of Hastings and Rye.”