£1.8million funding boost for seaside town

An impression of the plans for Amble harbour.
An impression of the plans for Amble harbour.

Proposals for the development of a new small business village on the harbour-side at Amble have taken a major step forward with the announcement that the project has secured £1.8million of grant funding from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

Centred on the town’s seafood industry, the project has been drawn up by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Amble Development Trust, Amble Town Council, business representatives and the wider community of Amble.

It aims to transform Amble into a visitor destination excelling in seafood; attracting new visitors, creating jobs and helping to sustain the wider economy of the area.

The proposals include opening up and enhancing the harbour and waterfront and working with local businesses, including the fishing community, food retail outlets and other waterfront and town centre businesses, to create a distinctive local seafood offer.

Key aspects of the project include:

○ The creation of a new ‘harbour village’ comprising 15 new small business ‘huts’ and a seafood centre;

○ Creation of a new waterside promenade linking the harbour, marina area and Braid – in turn connecting through to a Sustrans cycle route;

○ Improvement at Leazes Street of the physical connection between the existing Town Square and harbour village, leading on to other quayside areas beyond;

○ Relocation of the Coquet Shorebase Trust to provide new and improved access to the waterside along with creating a new harbour-side development site on the site of the old Shorebase Trust buildings;

○ The establishment of a ‘seafood broker’ post, to add value to the catch landed by the fishing fleet at Amble and other coastal communities in Northumberland;

○ The establishment of a harbour village market co-ordinator post, to manage and promote the delivery of the harbour village including the development of a marketing plan linked to wider initiatives by Northumberland Tourism;

○ The establishment of a training and skills programme.

The £2.5 million project was awarded conditional planning approval in October 2013, and after this award from the Coastal Communities Fund the majority of funding required for the project is in place.

Coastal Communities Fund is a UK-wide, government funding programme administered by The Big Lottery Fund. It aims to ensure that coastal communities experience regeneration and economic growth through projects that directly or indirectly create sustainable jobs, and safeguard existing jobs.

Coun Allan Hepple, Northumberland County Council’s policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration, said: “This funding award is great news for Amble and is testament to the hard work of all the partners who have been involved in developing this exciting project for the town. It also demonstrates the council’s commitment to supporting the regeneration of communities like this, working alongside local agencies and businesses.”

Julia Aston from Amble Development Trust said: “This is wonderful news for Amble and represents the next stage in the town’s regeneration, building on our previous work.

“It proves the positive effectiveness of true partnership working and we thank everyone who helped achieve this positive outcome and for their continued belief in what the town can accomplish.”

Coun Robert Arckless, local county councillor for Amble added: “This is a real boost for Amble, after the town has had a tough time. I’d like to thank all of the partners for their very hard work over a long period in helping to put this project together, and for submitting the successful bid.”

Sir Alan Beith expressed his delight at the news.

He said: “This announcement comes as a result of a great deal of hard work put into getting the bid in place, involving Amble Community Development Trust and Northumberland County Council with input from Warkworth Harbour Commissioners, many local businesses and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

“The project will play a major role in bringing more visitors to Amble as well as strengthening local businesses and making the town even better for those who live and work there.

“It is a very exciting time for Amble and the town’s residents and I am delighted that all the hard work so far has paid off. I am looking forward to seeing the project develop and will help in any way I can to ensure it succeeds.”

The plans and proposals for the project can be seen at Amble Development Trust’s offices at The Fourways 2 Building, Dilston Terrace, Amble.