Coastal communities urged to work together to secure government grant

Coastal communities across the region could soon bid for a slice of government money to help rejuvenate their area, it emerged last night.

The chancellor of the exchequer and chief secretary to the treasury will today announce the launch of a Coastal Communities Fund, which will support a wide range of projects.

The multi-million-pound fund is designed to support the economic development of coastal communities and will be available on a bid basis.

Malcolm Kerby, from the Coastal Concern Action Group, has said the money could give a real boost to the region's coastal communities.

He said: 'This is an excellent move because it seems coastal communities are always left at the back of the queue in terms of obtaining funding.

'Coastal communities nationally have been run down for quite a while with greater deprivation than in urban areas so anything that can help address this imbalance has to be welcomed.

'I would urge any coastal community in this region to make sure they talk to their local representatives and work together to get a slice of this money.'

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Examples of what communities can bid for include support for developing renewable energy, improving skills or environmental safeguarding or improvement.

The Coastal Communities Fund will be financed by the government through the allocation of funding equivalent to 50pc of the revenues from the Crown Estate's marine activities. In April 2012, there will be �23.7m available in the fund.

The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, said: 'This new funding shows that the government is committed to supporting coastal communities and ensuring that they benefit from the revenue that our coasts and the Crown Estate produce.'

North Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb, said he was excited by the Coastal Communities Fund.

He said: 'A number of years ago I put in a Freedom of Information request to the Crown Estate to establish how much income they were getting from Norfolk through dredging, and it was substantial. 'If the fund is going to look to benefit communities close to where Crown Estate marine activities are taking place, Norfolk should benefit significantly from it.'

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis also welcomed the move. He said: 'This can be a great boost to charities. The third sector is especially strong in coastal towns with their areas of deprivation and there are 197 registered charities in Yarmouth.'

The fund will open for business in April 2012 and further details on how to apply to the fund will be published shortly.

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