Coastal Communities cash! Funding for seaside areas
We is agreeing with the gov’mint! (Brief pause while we lie down and fan selves.) To be fair, we normally agree with grants, schemes and general cleverness re doshing out readies (tick) to deprived areas (another tick) at the seaside (tick the third), but we like to pretend to judge each case on its merits.
We were tentative fans of the Coastal Communities Fund when it was launched last year for its remit of helping new businesses and employment in seaside areas and towns – much needed given the deprivation and low pay in many deprived coastal areas. The government clearly agreed with us (sensible) and has extended the programme until 2016, with the amount of money up for grabs now £26 million. As Eric Pickles said:
‘It’s a missed opportunity if we don’t tap into the huge potential our coastal towns have to welcome new industries and to diversify their economies so they can become year-round success stories.’ Well, quite.
So far the fund has paid for, among others :
- Waterfront regeneration in Plymouth
- Almost half a million pounds for bay regeneration in Morecambe
- Supporting fisheries and sailing on the Isle of Skye
- £1.25 million towards restoring Hastings Pier . (We were shocked – shocked! – to discover that a whopping 56 per cent of piers in the UK are in private ownership: more details here . And tut.)
We’re also in slight shock – shock! – at agreeing with Eric Pickles, but huzzah, we say, to the extension of the fund. Jolly good show. And in this seaside spirit, we’ve taken a look at campsites in a few of the newly funded areas, so we can all Do Our Duty and spend most of the forthcoming year at the coast:
Plymouth’s £670,400 from the fund is going towards regenerating the harbour, renovating the fishing storage arches lying empty and making the city more bike-friendly – good news for those cyclists arriving bow-legged in Plymouth after doing the 103 mile Devon coast to coast trail from Ilfracombe. Ouch.
Riverside Caravan Park on the banks of the River Plym has grass pitches for tents and tourers starting from £13 and hardstanding electric pitches from £18. From here it’s less than four miles from Plymouth city centre (and two golf clubs) for the Mayflower Museum (and Mayflower Steps), National Maritime Museum and city wildlife trail , all of which should be sampled before sampling seafood at the Barbican. And then you could head north to Dartmoor or take the ferry to France…
After Devon, go to Dorset . Specifically Bournemouth, the biggest town in the county and set most conveniently between Christchurch and Poole for three times the beaches. (The nightlife is pretty nifty too).
Bournemouth’s Coastal Communities cash has been used to set up the new National Coastal Tourism Academy if you’re tempted to sell all your worldly goods and run, cackling, to the coast to be a student again; if you only have a paltry few days or week in the city we recommend the land train from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Chine Gardens; a boat from Bournemouth Pier and attempting to run, Rocky and Apollo-like, along the seven miles of Bournemouth beach.
Then farm yourself out to St Leonards Farm Caravan & Camping Park , one of our most popular farm campsites and one of the closest campsites to Bournemouth. Grass pitches start from £11 and there’s also a caravan for hire from £50 per night, sleeping up to four and with one car included.
Isle of Skye and the Scottish islands
Scottish communities have been doing fairly bonnily from the coastal fund, which raises another Huzzah from us. The charity Lochaber Fisheries Trust received over £72,000 to improve fish populations and freshwater habitats in the area, but we particularly like the fact that a the Skye Sailing Club got over £350,000 too. And we’re also chuffed that money has been awarded to redevelop Ardveenish Harbour on beautiful Barra, said to have the most scenic airport in the world (it’s on the beach).
To stay on Skye, wild campsite Rubha Phoil Eco Camping has just ten pitches, all with lush woodland and coast views on an eco site with covered social and campfire areas. Non-electric grass pitches for tents and campervans start from £15.
For Barra, Croft 183 Caravan and Camping Site is a small family-run site near the Barra capital of Castlebay, with grass and hardstanding pitches from £11 – 15. There’s also a holiday cottage from £60 per night sleeping up to six, with private patio and parking for two cars (and mooring for a boat, if you should be so lucky).
Other campsites in Coastal Communities Fund areas:
Atlantic Bays Holiday Park , Padstow
Crows Nest Caravan Park , Scarborough
Argyll and Bute : Ballinoe Campsite , Isle of Tiree
Isle of Iona Campsite , Iona
Point Sands Caravan Park, Talbert
Ten best beaches in the UK – Readers’ Choice