Torbay, Dover and Blackpool will each benefit from around £4m for cultural, heritage and infrastructural projects from a new DCMS-funded programme called ‘Sea Change’, through which a total of £45m is being made available for the cultural regeneration of English seaside towns.
The project, which will run from 2008 to 2011, is led by CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), working with partners including the Regional Development Agencies, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Arts Council England and the Big Lottery Fund. The money will be invested in cultural projects that complement and enhance wider regeneration programmes. An open-air festival zone for up to 30,000 people on Blackpool’s Tower Headland is one possible outcome from the funding; the new zone is intended to play a key part in helping Blackpool achieve its ambition to become the UK’s ‘capital of dance’. Torbay has identified cultural infrastructure projects such as “enhancing galleries, theatres and arts centres” as a potential use for the funds. Applications must now be made to the DCMS by projects in the three towns, and the chosen projects will have to attract match funding. A further 12 grants, ranging from £200,000 to £1m, are also available to local authorities in other seaside resorts. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said that “the key criterion in choosing the resorts is that they are areas of social and economic deprivation in need of regeneration.”