News: Maritime sector welcomes ‘Levelling Up’ investment in coastal communities

Following the announcement of the second round of ‘Levelling Up’ funding from the Government, industry body Maritime UK has welcomed the inclusion of a number of projects focused on the sector and more broadly on our vitally important coastal communities around the United Kingdom. Maritime is known to make a massive contribution to the country’s economy, being worth £116 billion and supporting over a million jobs, and has a major contribution to make to levelling up the country as a whole. But we also know that coastal areas are amongst the most challenged economically and are in ongoing need of investment. Research previously released by Maritime UK show that almost half of our coastal communities’ young are being driven away from their hometowns through lack of jobs, and unless government continues to deliver support, more are likely to follow.

Commenting, Regional Cluster Development Manager, Simon Eardley, said:

“It is fantastic to see the sector taking advantage of the funding opportunities that are available to bring investment into the coastal regions of the country. The announcement from the Government today of significant resource for more than 100 projects overall as part of Round 2 of the ‘Levelling Up Fund’ is welcome. Projects focused on the maritime sector and on the coastal communities that are so significant to the economic prosperity of the UK are well represented in these awards but there is always more to do. As part of our work to support our network of regional cluster organisations around coast of the UK, we have been encouraging them to engage with partners to make sure maritime related infrastructure projects are part of the mix and a major focus when bids are submitted. This will be a significant priority for our ongoing work and future meetings of the Maritime UK Regional Council, which brings together all our regional teams, will be alive to how we can engage on future funding rounds, be they levelling up or other opportunities to draw down investment through the industry.

“We know that prioritising our coastal communities in this way is essential as a means to arrest decline; its why we developed and launched a ‘Coastal Powerhouse Manifesto’ in 2021. This document, which has formed the basis of a wider, ‘Programme for Government’, gives practical and realistic suggestions to those in Westminster around how we can address some of the systemic economic challenges that coastal communities face. This focus on the coast is, in our view, just as significant and important as the wider Northern Powerhouse or Midlands Engine agenda which often receives the most attention. Our regional teams, embedded in their local area, are well placed to champion initiatives that will make the most difference to their region and contribute to an overall emphasis on bring jobs, skills and growth to some of the most deprived areas but also those places with the most potential to deliver on ambitions to improve the lives of those who live in them and boost the economy.

“Maritime UK and its members engage on a regular basis with a range of Government ministers and indeed other political stakeholders who may in the future have an influence on this important focus of work. We’ll soon be meeting with Levelling-Up Minister, Dehenna Davison, to discuss how, by working together, maritime can help accelerate economic growth in coastal towns and cities. As devolved and local funding becomes increasingly important, not least in the context of green infrastructure in support of our transition to net zero, we stand ready help maximise these opportunities across the whole sector and across the whole country.”

Projects that are to received funding support with a maritime or coastal emphasis include:

Applicant organisation Bid Name Region Bid Value Summary
North East Lincolnshire Council Cleethorpes Masterplan Yorkshire and The Humber £18,412,039 North East Lincolnshire will be awarded over £18 million for a transformational regeneration of Cleethorpes seafront. This includes rejuvenating Cleethorpes' historic market square and regenerating Pier Gardens.
BCP Council BCP Coastal Communities Infrastructure South West (England) £18,159,731 £18.2 million for a transformation project that will revitalise the Bournemouth and Poole seafront with better, modernised facilities along the promenade, as well as building a community water sports hub
Cornwall Council Mid Cornwall Metro South West (England) £49,995,000 Nearly £50 million to create a direct train service linking Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth alongside better walking and cycling access to stations
Devon County Council Destination Exmouth South West (England) £15,765,899 Almost £16 million for projects that will extend Dinan Way and improve the Exmouth Gateway transport hub, along with delivering better cycling routes and footpaths, to help reduce congestion and improve journey times
Dorset Council Weymouth Waterside Regeneration South West (England) £19,468,083 £19 million for enabling works at Weymouth harbour side, to pave the way for nearly 400 new homes and a new leisure-led waterfront complex
North Somerset Council Bid for the future of Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset South West (England) £19,979,570 Nearly £20 million to transform Weston-super-Mare, with new visitor attractions at heritage sites to encourage tourism and improvements to the town centre with better retail opportunities for local businesses
Torridge District Council Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre South West (England) £15,587,980 £15.6 million for the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre in North Devon which will research green technology and work with local universities and private companies to bring investment and directly create nearly 100 high skilled jobs
Kent County Council Dover Access Improvements South East (England) £45,000,000 £45 million for Dover to improve the flow of traffic from the UK to the EU, with more border control points and a new exit route to help the port operate more efficiently and reduce congestion on local roads.
Rother District Council Bexhill; Culture, Community and Skills South East (England) £19,192,000 More than £19 million for the regeneration of Bexhill with improved access to the De La Warr Pavilion as well as the creation of a community hub in the heart of Sidley.
Swale Borough Council Sheerness Revival South East (England) £20,000,000 £20 million to transform Sheerness town centre by turning the Beachfields seafront into a community hotspot including a new café, outdoor gym, soft play and adventure golf areas. Funding will also expand the further education college and make space for new offices and studios for local small businesses.
Aberdeenshire Council Cultural Tides: North Sea Connections in Aberdeenshire Scotland £20,000,000 In Aberdeenshire, £20 million will transform Peterhead’s disused Arbuthnot House into a new museum, library and cultural hub, while the popular marine aquarium in Macduff will be modernised and expanded.
Fife Council River Leven Regeneration, Glenrothes and Central Fife Scotland £19,410,000 More than £19.4 million to accelerate the regeneration of Riverside Park in Fife and improve access to the River Leven with new walking routes.
Shetland Islands Council Fair Isle Ferry Infrastructure Project Scotland £26,762,313 Nearly £27 million has been guaranteed for a new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle. The service is a lifeline for the island, supporting its residents, visitors and supply chains, and without its replacement the community will become further isolated.
Bangor Marine Limited Marine Gardens Public Realm project Northern Ireland £9,829,424 The city of Bangor will undergo a huge £9.8 million transformation to create new waterfront gardens with spaces for events and activities, as well as helping to unlock the wider regeneration of the area
Mid Ulster District Council Maghera Regeneration Project Northern Ireland £9,058,971 Maghera is set to benefit from new green space and recreational facilities thanks to a £9 million grant. The money will also go towards transforming the former Maghera High School into a new industrial park to boost local business.
Allerdale Borough Council Workington Gateway North West (England) £9,586,777 Almost £10 million will drive improvements along Workington’s highways and cycle routes to better connect the town to the Port, improving access for local workers.
Blackpool Borough Council Multiversity North West (England) £40,000,000 A new carbon neutral university campus in Blackpool, with a £40 million investment, placing the Talbot Gateway at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence and robotics learning
Cumbria County Council Energy Coast Resilient Routes North West (England) £17,826,697 Close to £18 million in Cumbria will upgrade 30 km of the highway network and repair 21 bridges which serve communities along the Irish Sea coast, bringing local communities closer together
Lancaster City Council Eden Project North North West (England) £50,000,000 £50 million to transform Morecambe’s seafront into an Eden by the Bay, inspiring a sense of wonder in the natural world and drawing thousands of new visitors to the bustling seaside resort every year.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Connecting People and Place North East (England) £19,999,859 £20 million investment in the Newham Grange highway scheme will unlock 800 homes in Middlesbrough, while new pedestrian and cycle tracks will better connect Guisborough town centre to Teesworks and the North York Moors National Park.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council Great Yarmouth Riverside Gateway East £20,000,000 Regenerating the North Quay in Great Yarmouth, investing £20 million to improve pedestrian and cycle links for local people in the heart of the coastal community
Tendring District Council Clacton Civic Quarter East £19,958,224 Almost £20 million to deliver 28 new affordable homes in Tendring, breathing new life into a derelict brownfield site with a new library and adult learning space led by the University of Essex Centre for Coastal Communities

To read more about the whole range of projects who are to receive funding from this round of the Levelling Up Fund, click here: