Southend-on-Sea borough council has been successful in its bid for the second round of Coastal Communities Funding, gaining £1.25m to significantly enhance and diversify tourism in the area.
Aiming to attract more tourists by improving and developing the town’s waterfront, project partner, Stockvale Group, is also contributing a further £100,000 as match funding.
The news coincides with the announcement that seven beaches in Southend-on-Sea have been awarded Seaside Awards which recognise those achieving the highest standards of beach management.
In a recent business survey 28% of businesses in Southend said tourism was very important to their business survival. The town sees a boom in tourists during the summer months, but it is hoped that the investment will help increase visitor numbers all year round.
The grant will be used to support projects including building a lagoon, which will provide a year-round body of water regardless of the tide, for water sports and leisure activities.
It also includes developing the Southend Marine Activities Centre by investing in new equipment, and there are plans to deliver a maritime festival celebrating Southend’s “heritage, location, industries and spirit”.
It is also anticipated that the grant will create an initial eight jobs, with a further 126 indirectly created.
Andrew Lewis, corporate director for Place, Southend-on Sea Borough council, said: “It is imperative that the number of visitors out of peak season is increased. This is something we’ve been working towards over recent years through the events calendar, whilst investing in infrastructure such as Prittlewell Priory and Garon Park Swimming and Diving Centre.
“The private sector has mirrored this with investment resulting in two 4-star hotels in the town. This is an opportunity for Southend to attract more staying visitors, especially out of season. It is a great achievement and we look forward to seeing increased visitor numbers in the coming year.”