£5m application for job boosting, ‘game-changing’ projects in Skegness

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A multimillion pound bid has been submitted to help fund five ambitious project in Skegness, creating jobs and ‘game-changing’ new attractions for the town.

The Skegness Partnership believes its application for more than £5 million through the Coastal Communities Fund is the town’s strongest submission yet.

Town manager Stefan Krause says the ‘cohesive portfolio’ submitted on Monday in partnership with businesses and developers in the town ‘ticks all the right boxes’ and stands a great chance of success.

“The quality of submission this year is incomparable - I will be devastated if it doesn’t come off,” he said.

One of the most sought after bids contained in the portfolio is to support a ‘creative live/ work space’ as part of Taj Bola’s Skypier project for the fire gutted Grand Parade site.

The £2million bid would complement Mr Bola’s existing proposals to build a four storey leisure facility on the former Fat Louis site that burned to the ground more than five years ago.

Plans for nightclubs, bars an ice rink and shopping complex will still be funded by Mr Bola, however the new job-creating community focused element of the live/ work spaces is hoped to appeal to the Coastal Community Fund administrators.

“I’ve always had the long term intention of offering something more than what’s gone before to help push the town in a new bold direction,” said Mr Bola.

“I believe the town is at a point where many, many great things are on the very of happening and if this project is approved it will be a real game-changer.”

Mr Bola beleives the creative focus of the live/work space could help support the town’s emerging art scene, which has been encouraged by the Hildred Centre’s H-Art gallery, SO Festival and John Byford’s internationally acclaimed Made in England exhibition.

Another much hoped for project, yet to come into fruition is The Storehouse’s thousand-seater conference venue proposal.

The plans failed to gain funding through the European Regional Development Fund application, earlier this year, but its employment boosting attrinutes could gain it favour with the CCF.

The £1.2 million submission would enable the North Parade cafe and meeting rooms to develop a new faciltiy capable of hosting large-scale events generating up to £200,000 for the town’s economy on each occasion.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in conferences already including televised sporting events, political party meetings and theatrical performances - I see it as a loss for the town that we’ve not been able to host these things already,” said The Storehouse conference and community manager Alan Bailey, back in February.

A further £2 million has been sought to refurbish Skegness Pier and around £400,000 for could assist Naturealand Seal Sanctuary to create an exciting new attraction it its Tropical House.

There is also a smaller £80,000 bid to support Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service’s Volunteer to Employment Pilot Project.

Each of the projects has job creation as its key driver, which is one of the main purposes of the CCF.

Mr Krause believes this latest bid will succeed where others have failed due to the more cohesive and complementary approach taken.

“Whereas previously, the various developers were submitting bids that competed and conflicted with one another, this one has been formed in partnership to complement each other,” he said.

Although the partnership doubts all. five of the projects will be approved this time, Mr Krause is confident one will succeed, leaving scope for the others to benefit from later rounds of funding.

The government’s CCF, which is adminstered by the Big Lottery Fund has a total of £28 million to allocate to coastal projects. Projects will receive approval by January.