Spreading benefits of tourism across area

St Aidan's church in Bamburgh.
St Aidan's church in Bamburgh.

An economic plan is being drawn up for three villages on the north Northumberland coast in an effort to spread the benefits of tourism.

As reported in July, a joint bid from Bamburgh, Beadnell and Seahouses was successful in obtaining funding from the Government by becoming a Coastal Communities Team.

Coastal Communities Minister Mark Francois gave his support to more than 100 new local teams in a scheme that hopes to help revive England’s seaside towns and decide where investment goes.

Being named as a local team provides an initial £10,000 to kickstart work in each area.

For the trio of north Northumberland villages, that money is being used to draw up an economic plan for the area with the main aim of ensuring the benefits of the visitor economy support the area, providing local young people with good-quality jobs.

County councillor for the area, John Woodman, pointed out that while the aim of the fund is to revive seaside towns and villages, with these three villages, the issue is that they are almost too successful in terms of the visitor economy, which has implications for local people.

A steering group has been set up, involving parish councillors, business representatives and other interested parties, but others are welcome to get involved. Contact Iain Robson on 01670 622660 or iain.robson@northumber land.gov.uk for details.

Coun Woodman said: “The danger with this sort of funding is the money can trickle away or get used in a way which doesn’t benefit the community, that’s why we are keen to get a reasonably wide range of people involved.”

Along with the £10,000, the teams are also able to bid for a share of a new £3million Coastal Revival Fund to support or restore local heritage and facilities.

In Bamburgh, an application has been made for a project to look at reopening the crypt of St Aidan’s Church as an ossuary and visitor centre.

Funding is also being sought for a feasibility study on transforming the four-mile former railway line from Seahouses to Chathill into a route for walkers and cyclists.