Coastal towns share in £2.4m funding

Blackpool, Morecambe Bay and South Ribble are to benefit from £2.4m government investment.

Blackpool illuminationsThe three Lancashire attractions will invest the money in transforming the coastline and boosting visitor numbers to benefit the local economy.

The money – from the £36m Coastal Communities Fund – will support projects that will create nearly 3,000 jobs and almost 1,500 apprenticeships and training places nationally.

Blackpool City Council has been awarded £1,998,045 to deliver a radical transformation of the iconic Blackpool Illuminations, creating a compelling new visitor experience. The project will create 11.6 direct and 532 indirect jobs over the next five years.

Cllr Graham Cain, cabinet member for Tourism and Leisure, said: "I am sure the hundreds of businesses which rely on the illuminations will be over the moon. This investment will create a whole new visitor experience bringing new life into the illuminations, boosting the local economy and creating jobs.

“Millions of visits are made to the Lights every year but we are often told people want to see something new and different, this is it.

“LightPool will bring exciting new light shows, events and features into the town centre, including digital mapping projections onto the iconic Blackpool Tower.

“The Illuminations need to become more interactive, that’s what the public expect to see in modern attractions and that’s what they will soon be getting.”

Morecambe Bay Partnership has been awarded £297,542 to improve visitor facilities and create a new cycling infrastructure, in a project that will create over 10 jobs.

Susannah Bleakley, executive director at Morecambe Bay Partnership, said: "This will create the UK’s first long distance cycle route accessible by electric bike.

“Electric bikes are great for encouraging people to try cycling. Creating a new electric bike network, as well as boost the Bay Cycle Way will bring health and well-being benefits; benefits for tourism and business and encourage green travel.”

South Ribble Borough Council has been awarded £131,700 to regenerate an under used stretch of the Ribble coastline near Preston, with a focus on improved parking, a new village market and organising more events. The investment will create 35 new jobs.

Councillor Phil Smith, South Ribble Borough Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Regeneration, Leisure and Healthy Communities, said: “This is truly fantastic news for Longton, Western Parishes and South Ribble as a borough.

“The large grant matches funding already invested by the council to regenerate Longton village centre, including the business and shopping area, with schemes well underway to increase car parking, improve transport facilities, signage and community amenities."

Coastal communities minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Backing our coastal towns so they can rise up and drive forward their local economies is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain. This money will help create jobs, boost skills and open up new business opportunities, benefitting hardworking people in coastal communities across the country. “These fantastic projects demonstrate the creativity, enterprise and passion needed to help seaside towns become year round destinations that people are proud to live and work in.”