Damien Moore MP
Southport Pier, Photo credit Pat Regan

Britain’s most easterly point is set to become a tourist attraction after £1m was secured to fund its makeover.

The government money will be used to revamp Ness Point in Lowestoft, Suffolk, which is currently marked only by a circular stone plaque.

The council hopes to turn the semi-derelict promenade area into an attraction similar to Land’s End and John O’Groats.

Ness Point visitor centre will celebrate the area’s maritime heritage.

New cycle links and footpaths are also planned along with an area dedicated to cultural events such as festivals.

It is one of 30 coastal projects to benefit from up to £40m of government funds.

Up to 250 coastal communities bid for a share the Department for Communities and Local Government funding, which Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said was to “back the Great British Coast… to create new jobs, boost economic growth and increase tourism”.

Tourism ‘worth £8bn’

“There’s a range of exciting projects set to benefit across the country, from a new conference centre for Blackpool to new beach huts and lifeguards for Hastings.

“This new funding will help attract even more tourists to our coast and help our seaside towns and coastal areas thrive,” he said.

Above: Southport Pier will use funds to promote itself to birdwatchers

Coastal tourism is worth £8bn to the economy each year, Mr Javid added.

Also set to benefit is the West Norfolk Coastal Corridor, where cycling paths and walking trails will be improved and Ipswich town centre, where £750,000 will boost an £8m scheme to regenerate the Suffolk waterfront and dock area.

Funding has also been secured for a new conference centre planned for Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, and on Merseyside, Southport Pier will use its share of the money to help promote the area to birdwatchers.

Money has also been awarded to Plymouth History Centre to improve visitor attractions ahead of the Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020, and the White Rock area of Hastings will receive funds to boost lifeguard numbers and build new beach huts.

Since 2012, £120m has been invested in more than 200 projects through the Coastal Communities Fund across the UK, the government said.

Cllr David Barton, who has led calls for increased investment in Southport Pier, said: “I am delighted that our classic resort town has been chosen to benefit from this most welcome funding. It is encouraging to see that our campaign to bring inward investment into the town is being listened to and acted upon.

“It is clear that people are being incentivised by a Victorian seaside town that has already made so many improvements to its civic heritage over the last few years, be that to assets owned by the public or the private sector. It is fantastic that Southport’s importance as a tourist destination for people of all ages and generations is being recognised.” 

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Councillor represents the main leisure seafront area of the town. He says:

“One third of all domestic overnight trips are now made to the coast with coastal tourism being worth £8 billion to the economy each year.”

Despite Sefton Council trying to cut back on our Tourism support, this sort of measure can help businesses in the town create new jobs, boost economic growth and further increase tourism.”

“I was very concerned about the poor quality of the paint job on the pier last time it was done. Great big flakes have been falling off for many months. I trust that the latest expenditure of public money will be more effective.”

Tweet not happy…! 

Thanks to the disappearance of much of our sandy beach, inland species of bird such as thrush, blackbird, robin and hedge sparrow are thought to be ready to forcibly ‘oust’ sea – going ducks, disgruntled dabchicks and very worried waders.

Local birding expert and spokesman for the group ‘Tweet’, Heimlich Von Finch, explained:

“The funding is welcomed but the loss of Sefton sand will not make the dunlins or redshanks very happy. Can councillors not set an example and start to remove the grass off the shoreline around the pier with shovels?”

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