Community urged to back multi-million bid

A multimillion pound bid for European funding to achieve long sought after projects in Skegness requires community support to succeed - its originators say.

Skegness Partnership has applied for £4.2 million through the European Regional Development Fund to create jobs, community assets and improve the town’s tourist appeal.

The money would fund a conference centre at The Storehouse, a community hub at St Matthew’s Church, renovations to Tower Gardens Pavilion and improvements to Lumley Road and the foreshore, creating at least 65 jobs.

Each of the projects have been long held aspirations in the town, which councillors discussing the issue on Tuesday, felt would be unable to achieve if the bid failed.

The Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson said: “We can’t afford for this to fail - we owe it to our residents, we owe it to our businesses and we owe it to ourselves - this is the last chance saloon.”

The bid is reported to have been well supported by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, East Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council.

And with no other applications on the table for this region before Christmas, Skegness Partnership was confident of success.

Town manager Stefan Krause, who spearheaded the bid with councillor and business support, said: “It’s an unbelievably strong package which has been well endorsed.”

However a late application from Lincoln has prompted fears the funding may be snatched from Skegness’s grasp.

Coun Anderson added: “The vultures are out there circling waiting for us to fail and if we fail they succeed.”

As the project demonstrates many of the ERDF’s funding outcome aspirations, such as job creation and multi-organisation involvement, confidence remains high it will succeed.

But to improve the bid’s chances Skegness Partnership has urged Skegness Town Council and the wider community to show their support.

Coun Steve O’Dare said: “We as town councillors have got to support this type of thing because if we don’t it will fail - we back the bid!”

Councillors resolved to write a letter of support for the scheme before a final decision on it is made in March or April.

After the meeting Coun Anderson reiterated the need for a unified support.

“To get this bid together was like herding cats because there were so many partner organisations that wanted different aspects of the bid,” he said. But once we got them together we were all singing from the same hymn sheet and the partnership has to be commended for that.

“I don’t want to see anymore griping or sniping - we are all in this together.”