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Additional grant for storm damage repairs on the Coast Path

The South West Coast Path has been awarded an additional £130,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund for path improvements and repairs following severe storm damage in recent years, it was announced at the weekend.

It is one of eight projects to receive a share of £800,000 from the government to create jobs and help seaside towns attract visitors all-year round. 

The project led by the South West Coast Path Association is to be given the extra funding to help continue work that will create 500 more jobs in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset by the end of the year, which in turn will help attract investment and boost the local economy.

Communities Minister Mark Francois MP said:

“We’re determined to unlock the enormous potential of our Great British Coast.

“Over the past three years we’ve already funded more than 200 projects along the shorefront – from piers and promenades to shop-fronts and sailing centres – to attract tourists, boost jobs and create vibrant local economies.

“Now this extra £800,000 will help put another eight coastal communities back on the map and kick-start their own exciting regeneration plans.”

The announcement comes just as the South West Coast Path Association sees the completion of the first round of its CCF funding of £1m which it received in 2014 – half of which was capital funds to repair storm damaged areas of the Coast Path while the other revenue half is being used to ramp up its marketing and promotion of the Coast Path.

Due to its success in making a real difference to the rural economies of the region, attracting £468m in tourism spend each year from around 8 million visitors according to its research, the Association was well placed to receive the additional grant.

Escalating costs of the repairs in the original project plan and with new projects identified as being in need of urgent repair after the first round of funding was secured, mean’t that the funding was absolutely necessary to ensure the Path remains open to visitors, thus continuing to boost the local tourist economy.

Mark Owen, National Trail Officer for the Coast Path who oversees its maintenance says:

“The impact that the cliff falls and associated Coast Path closures had on local businesses following the storms in early 2014 actually led to a decrease in tourism spend and jobs supported by the Coast Path were estimated to have reduced from 11,393 to 10,610 in the region.

“The repairs therefore, will help to encourage visitors to return and support the creation of more jobs in the tourism industry which benefit from the Coast Path.”

Specific locations and projects where the money will be spent includes:

  • Cornwall– St Michael, Caerhays – relocation of Path away from eroded cliff edge, installation of new steps and waymarkers.
  • Cornwall– Polurrian Cove, Mullion – realignment of Path away from seaward side to avoid slumping, including relocation of wooden steps
  • Cornwall – Breage – widening of Path with new drainage and steps,
  • Cornwall– Stackhouse Cliff – realignment of Path away from eroded cliff edge, including construction of small boardwalks and new fencing
  • Devon – Rockham Beach Steps – installation of new steps down to beach – to cover increased costs (pictured above)
  • Devon – Hope Cove – to repair the sea wall and reinstate the Path.

The remainder of the increased grant will fund;

  • Improved Customer Relationship Management System to support the work of the Association
  • Additional staff resources to continue and sustain development of the Association and oversee the delivery of the CCF projects.

Launched in 2012, the Coastal Communities Fund has invested more than £120 million on 222 projects, including local infrastructure and economic schemes around the UK. It is creating almost 12,400 jobs and providing more than 6,000 training places and apprenticeships.

 

Published on: March 8, 2016