£1m government boost for seaside jobs includes walking tourists and river taxis
08:47 07 March 2014
An initiative to bring walking tourists to Norfolk and a Lowestoft river taxi are among schemes which have attracted almost £1m from a government fund to boost seaside jobs.
New circular walks
Thirty new short and circular walks and a walking festival are among the projects planned by Norfolk County Council with £200,000 of central government cash to help boost seaside communities.
The funding for the two-year “Explore More Coast” project will allow Norfolk to promote the first two
Norfolk stretches of the England Coast Path, which are planned to be completed over the next 24 months between Weybourne and Great Yarmouth.
Leaders say the project will bring £500,000 of economic benefit to the area through a 20pc increase in visitor numbers.
It is expected to help create 30 new indirect jobs and secure 20 others.
The project will see 30 new short and circular walks promoted, a walking festival created and 20 volunteers will be trained to become walk leaders.
Jay Formosa, of Jay Jay’s Café in Gorleston, said: “Gorleston and Great Yarmouth both have beautiful coastlines and
the creation of new short and circular walks, coupled with a walking festival, will give something for visitors all-year round.
“It’ll be good news for businesses and a great way of using the fantastic economic assets we’ve got in this area.”
David Harrison, Norfolk County Council environment cabinet member, said the project would bring more customers to the thousands of businesses which make their living from providing services to people who visit the area just behind the coastline between Cromer and Great Yarmouth.
A total of 83 jobs are expected to be either created or safeguarded between Cromer and Lowestoft by the £996,000 cash boost, which will also fund a new facility for Great Yarmouth boat firm Alicat Workboats so they can maintain and build vessels all year around.
In a further boost to the Norfolk and Suffolk coast – which was hit by the east coast tidal surge in early December – the government will also announce that the next £64m round of the Coastal Communities Fund, paid for through revenue from the Crown Estate marine assets, will put flood protection schemes to the top of the list over the next three years.
Norfolk politicians have been lobbying the government to open up the scheme for defences against the power of the sea, both before after the tidal surge last year. One of those who has lobbied the government is Norfolk County Council cabinet member for environment David Harrison.
He said: “I am really pleased that the government has today shown that it has been listening to all of us.
“We need to work on both fronts – boosting our economic resilience and protecting ourselves to get Norfolk in the best possible shape to deal with whatever our weather throws at us.”
He said that the council would be working with the Environment Agency to look at more ideas for future Coastal Communities Fund bids. Money from the fund has been taken to support inland areas in England that are affected by flooding through a one-off £5m freed up from the fund’s reserve to go towards flood recovery projects as part of the Severe Weather Recovery Scheme. But it would not affect the funding allocated to existing or future budgets.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “We want to help our seaside towns affected by the recent flooding get back on their feet as soon as possible. The next round of the Coastal Communities Fund is now open and we will be prioritising bids on coastal flood protection and repair.
“This government is committed to supporting the regeneration of our seaside towns and part of that is taking decisive action to help communities and businesses affected by the floods.”
Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Norfolk Chamber is delighted that funding has been announced to help local projects, particularly in our coastal regions that need help to boost jobs and economic growth.
“Any opportunities to provide additional support and jobs is always welcomed.”
Is the government doing enough for coastal communities? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk