Published: 14:00, 24 March 2016
| Updated: 14:08, 24 March 2016
Kent’s coastal towns are in line for a share of government cash to help them boost jobs and investment as a new £90m budget was announced in Ramsgate today.
Ministers say they are allocating the extra money to their Coastal Revival Fund - which they say has already helped scores of projects in seaside towns to the tune of £120m since 2012.
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay (Con) says this could create more than 1,000 jobs in the area.
Communities minister Mark Francois visited the town today to launch the second annual report of the Coastal Communities Fund.
Mr Francois said: “We are encouraging coastal communities across Kent to apply again for the second round of the fund that starts in the summer and we have £90m to disperse over four years.
“We are trying to encourage as many bids as possible to come into the fund in the summer but projects have to help regeneration and economic growth.”
He also highlighted the success of the scheme to date in a report showing that for every £1 invested through the scheme, there is an estimated £8 boost to the area.
He added: “It will help promote economic regeneration growth and jobs in coastal communities across the whole of the United Kingdom.
“I’ve come down here to launch the new fund because it has very good examples of how the money has already been spent.
“For instance the Marlowe Innovation Centre which is giving small businesses a chance to start up and use their facilities received about a third of a million.
“Thanet District Council got a quarter of a million to upgrade walking and cycle paths making Ramsgate more attractive to tourists.
“Up the road in Margate, the fund gave £1.9m to bring back into use the derelict Art Deco cinema at the Dreamland site.”
He was shown around the area by Mr Mackinlay.
The grant already given to the Marlowe Innovation Centre in Ramsgate allowed it to more than double its accommodation and support services to small businesses and new start-ups and create 70 new jobs.
It is also benefiting from a £247,000 grant to attract more visitors to Thanet’s unique coast and associated heritage assets.
Mr Mackinlay said: “I pulled a lot of organisations together in something called the Ramsgate regeneration alliance including business, community groups, residents' associations and anybody who has great interest.
“We’ve produced a report on the visions the group has and it’s great because it allows everybody to see what we are hoping to do.
“There is a perception by people in Ramsgate that Margate has done quite well over the years with Dreamland, the Turner Contemporary and people feel it’s time Ramsgate got it’s bit.
“I don’t just represent Ramsgate but I think it has some great potential to bring visitors and businesses here. Regeneration will bring this place up to normal levels that the whole of the south east see.
“I could easily foresee 1,000 jobs coming out of the regenerated Thanet, by conversion of training into real jobs, an accessible high-speed train to London and getting people down here to enjoy what we are enjoying.”
More by this authorConnor Dunn