MORE than 1,000 jobs are set to be created in the North East after four seaside towns won a total of £4.5m to regenerate the coastline.
Whitley Bay, North Shields, Blyth and Sunderland will receive the cash from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund for a variety of projects that will help to boost leisure and tourism facilities, and attract more people to the region.
Sunderland City Council is getting £2m towards the regeneration of the historic Seaburn seafront, creating 521 indirect jobs and 525 temporary construction jobs.
The Port of Blyth, in Northumberland, has been awarded £500,000 to help establish a maritime heritage visitor centre, and education and community hub for employment and skills training. The project will create at least five direct and four indirect jobs.
North Tyneside Council will receive £1.9m – around half the amount it originally applied for.
The authority was hoping to get £4.2m to help fund a series of new initiatives and improvements and the smaller grant means the council will have to put some work on hold while other funding sources are explored.
North Tyneside mayor Linda Arkley said: “It would have been nice to receive the full £4.2m. But we recognise there were a large number of applicants across the country and only a finite pot of cash.
“Even though we have been awarded less money than we applied for, it is still the third largest amount nationally.”
The £1.9m grant will help to create 12 direct and 50 indirect jobs in North Tyneside.
Part of the money will be used to create a public piazza in front of the Spanish City dome in Whitley Bay, providing a focal point for open-air activities such as music, dance, drama, markets and fairs.
With the permission of North East songwriter Mark Knopfler, the lyrics of his song Tunnel of Love will be etched into the promenade. In the song, the rock star pays tribute to the former Spanish City amusement park, referring to a fairground ride he enjoyed as a youngster.
The cash will also help to transform the Old Low Light building, at North Shields Fish Quay, into a new heritage and visitor centre. The venue is to include a community café, exhibition space and activity programme.
Jan Taylor, chairman of The Net group, which is leading the project, said: “This is excellent news. The cash will make an incredible difference to the Fish Quay.
“We held consultations about the project and people came up with great ideas on how to develop the centre. Having this money means we can go ahead and implement their ideas.”