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Sea Change for the South East

27 October 2008

More than £1.5 million will soon be flooding the South East coast, after the latest round of funding from the Government’s Sea Change programme was announced earlier this week.

Out of the twelve seaside towns benefiting from a total of £4.5 million funding pool, three are in the South East – Bexhill-on-Sea, Littlehampton and Margate. The money will be used to develop innovative projects designed to provide a long-term benefit to the public.

The prime benefactor will be Bexhill-on-Sea, which will receive £1m to be used on the next stage of its successful seafront improvement scheme. The scheme, with help from SEEDA, has already brought about the renovation of the Grade One listed De La Warr Pavilion, a popular modernist icon, and will now use the Sea Change funding to carry out restoration on the surrounding area, reconnecting the town centre with its seafront Promenade.

A £480,800 grant for Littlehampton will also aid seafront regeneration schemes, with several design-led improvements scheduled including a proposal to build the longest bench on the world. Margate has secured £30,000 to help with a feasibility study into possible uses for the famous Dreamland cinema and amusement complex.

"We’re delighted that three such innovative proposals for culturally led growth have been successful," said Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of SEEDA. Oona Muirhead, SEEDA’s Director for Sustainable Prosperity, added: "Ninety percent of the region’s deprivation is in the South East, and we’re hoping that these pilots will show how culture and heritage can have a transformative effect on our much loved seaside towns."

The Sea Change programme is run by the Department for Culture and Tourism, and aims to reinvigorate much-loved resorts through targeted investment in culture and heritage. Dover Castle has already begun to reap the benefits of the programme, having won a £3.85m grant earlier this year to refurbish Dover Castle and investigate the feasibility of a cable car to take visitors from the sea front to the popular visitor attraction.

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