Morecambe Bay is in line for more than 400 new jobs and a massive boost to tourism if the government agree funding to reinvigorate the area.
If the £1.7m Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) bid is successful, the work in 2015 and 2016 will make Morecambe Bay one of the UK’s fastest growing destinations and deliver more than 400 new jobs and safeguard more than 10,000 others.
The cash will also be used to strengthen the brand of Morecambe Bay so the 15 million people a year who visit the area have the sense they’re coming to a single, unified destination.
It is also set to boost tourism revenue by £22m, more than 13 times the original investment.
Projects in the pipeline include: opening up the bay to more visitors, including those with disabilities, through rugged, 4-wheel, electric Trampers and new accessible routes for all; a new Electric Bike Network to attract the booming cyclist market; reinvigorating the art deco lido at Grange-over-Sands; a new ‘pop-up’ museum celebrating the heritage of the area; mapping the bay using the Google Trekker backpack mapping system; and training a new generation of bay guides to support the work of local icon Cedric Robinson, who has been the Queen’s Guide to the Sands since 1963.
Cumbria County Council is also looking to bring the Tour of Britain cycle race to the Morecambe Bay area during the programme if the bid gets the green light.
Coun John McCreesh, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for environment, said: “Morecambe Bay is one of Britain’s most beautiful coastal landscapes, with the backdrop of the southern Lakes and the largest expanse of tidal sands in the whole UK. It is a dramatic place with a unique geography which is rich in both heritage and wildlife.
“With a concerted push in marketing, branding and new attractions, Morecambe Bay Partnership can generate more than £13 back for every £1 spent on promoting the area. I hope that by the end of 2016 Morecambe Bay will have a whole new profile both nationally and internationally as an incredible place to come and visit.
The Government’s announcement on the Coastal Communities Fund is expected in February 2015 and, if successful, Destination Morecambe Bay will start immediately.
The programme will be delivered by the Morecambe Bay Partnership and last until December 2016.
The bid has been led by Cumbria County Council.
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale said: “I have repeatedly urged local authorities to bid for funding and so I praise Cumbria County Council for their ambition on this project.
“I am signing on to help them in any way I can. I will be banging on the doors of senior ministers in the days and weeks ahead to ask them to back the bid.
“This funding will help our community and create jobs, leverage in further investment and boost apprenticeships. I will do everything within my power to help.”