Sunderland seafront funding boost: Plans for beach hut village and turning under-used buildings into cafes and restaurants take leap forward after £800,000 grant success
A £1.4 million project to transform seafront spots into places to do Sunderland proud has been given a major cash boost.
Under proposals, under-used and historic buildings along the Seaburn and Roker promenade will be turned into new spaces for creative and tourist businesses.
A former toilet block at Roker, along with the former Bay Shelter and the old tram shelter at Seaburn into cafés and restaurants, have been earmarked for redevelopment.
Sunderland City Council also wants to build 12 beach huts just north of Fat Buddha and plans to upgrade the infrastructure of Seaburn Camp to make it better for touring caravans.
It has been awarded £820,000 from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, which is pumping almost £2.7 million to the North East in its latest round of grants which aim to develop and improve tourist attractions, create jobs and promote socio-economic growth.
Read more: New cafes, restaurants and beach huts - how Sunderland seafront could look as part of council plansThe East Durham coast will also benefit, with £1.325 million awarded towards a £2.23 million project to create a visitor and events centre at Crimdon Beach.
Project leaders at Durham County Council aim to make it a hub for volunteers, health and education projects and be an information point for visitors to the Durham Heritage Coast.
Related: £1.5m bid to create new cafe and volunteer centre to boost beach on outskirts of HartlepoolThe Government has said the cash will help shore up preparations for Brexit and support the economy after the UK leaves the European Union.
Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, deputy cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in scooping this funding from the Coastal Communities Fund.
“The transformation of the former Seaburn Shelter into the popular Fat Buddha restaurant has been a real success story so there is enormous potential for other little used or redundant seafront buildings to take on a new lease of life as cafes or restaurants.
“The introduction of beach huts in other areas has also been tremendously popular so I think they will be a welcome addition to our seafront.
“It’s all part of our ongoing efforts to make the most of our beautiful beaches and seafront, which have seen £10million invested in the regeneration of the seafront since 2010.”
The funding will also support the continued growth of the city’s cultural sector with Sunderland Culture working in partnership with the North East Business and Innovation Centre and Sunderland Software City.
Rebecca Ball, Creative Director for Sunderland Culture, said: “We’re delighted that Sunderland’s Coastal Communities Fund project has been given the green light.
“This comes at at just the right time for the city, as there is real impetus around the growth of Sunderland’s cultural sector at the moment.
“This investment will help support the growth of a cluster of creative entrepreneurs, artists and creative businesses and deliver events, workshops, skills development - including business support, residencies and mentoring opportunities. We know it will make a real difference to our creative graduates, start-ups and existing SMEs across the city.”
“Sunderland is a city built on partnerships - and we are delighted to be working with Sunderland City Council and other city partners on this project.”
Nationally, £36 million has been allocated to help coastal communities, with innovative businesses, historic buildings, new museums and the restoration of much-loved coastal heritage sites among those receiving a windfall.
The region’s projects, which also includes a bird sculpture trail in Amble, are forecast to collectively support 290 jobs, and attract up to £1.5 million in additional investment from the public and private sectors.
This latest investment represents awards from the fifth round of the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and the third phase of the Coastal Revival Fund in 2018/19.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “I am determined to support investment and development of our coastal communities across the North East and create an economy that works for everyone as we prepare for Brexit and beyond.
“All of the ambitious projects receiving funding today were designed and developed by local people who know what will make the biggest difference to their areas.
“The sheer range of ideas demonstrate the potential of our coastal communities and will all create good jobs, boost growth and improve people’s lives now and in the future.”
Northern Powerhouse and Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry MP added: “This is an investment in the future of the Northern Powerhouse and our coastal communities which builds on their rich heritage and huge potential.
“The world-class attractions and innovative businesses supported by the Coastal Community Fund and the Coastal Revival Fund will increase tourism, encourage investment and ensure people thrive up and down the Great British Coast.”
The Government says today’s investment in coastal communities builds on its “commitment to ensure people have the opportunities to prosper no matter where they live.”
It recently announced the North East will receive at least £105 million from the new Stronger Towns Fund, a £1.6 billion investment which will enable new Town Deals across England, and the delivery of locally led projects creating new jobs, providing further training and boosting local growth.The latest funding in the Coastal Revival Fund will see almost £136,000 allocated in the region,
The Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool have been awarded £46,800 towards the restoration of the pool while essential repairs to Redcar’s St Germain’s Tower will be helped with £43,238 of funding.