The Prime Minister visited Clacton today (18 October) to learn about the opportunities created by Levelling Up funding to the area.
During his visit the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP saw the site of a £30million redevelopment project and met local business owners.
Community leaders, including Tendring District Council Leader Mark Stephenson and Essex County Council Deputy Leader Louise McKinlay, met with the Prime Minister at Clacton Library which will be redeveloped as part of Clacton’s Levelling Up Fund project, before Mr Sunak observed an Adult Community Learning maths class in the building.
The Clacton Levelling Up Fund project will see £29.3million invested to create a new gateway into the town, providing new community facilities – including a library, learning centre, business units, homes and improved public space – all part of unlocking the wider long-term potential of Clacton and Tendring. It has received £19.9million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
The Prime Minister then continued his trip by meeting with beneficiaries of Essex Pedal Power, a flagship programme of the Active Essex and Sport England Local Delivery Pilot providing free bikes to residents in Clacton and Jaywick Sands to increase access to jobs, education, active travel journeys and improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Before returning to Westminster the Prime Minister visited Clacton Pier and met with the attraction owners Billy and Elliot Ball.
Earlier this month Clacton was announced as one of 55 places to receive funding from the Long Term Plan for Towns. A new initiative from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Long Term Plan will see the area receive £20million over ten years in an endowment style fund to make sustainable improvements to the town.
Mr Billy Ball said: “I welcome this level of investment from the government into Clacton. Funding on this scale is good for all businesses, and something that will benefit us all by helping us to grow and further support the local economy.”
In addition to the funding outlined above Tendring has also received £6.7million towards a £9million Capital Regeneration Project in Dovercourt town centre, and been named as one of 20 areas to share a £400million Levelling Up Partnership arrangement with government. The Levelling Up projects are being led by Tendring District Council.
Councillor Stephenson said: “Clacton and Tendring is an area really on the up, helped hugely by government investment worth more than £60million over the next decade – secured by working closely with our partners, especially at Essex County Council and our local MPs.
“This was a great opportunity to show the Prime Minister what a fantastic area Tendring is here, full of potential – not just from these Levelling Up projects, but also through Freeport East and our garden community project – and what we are doing to improve the lives of our residents.”
Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, said: “It was my great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister to Clacton; many MPs try to entice our nation’s leader to their own patch, and I am thrilled I have squeezed so much cash out of him for Clacton that he felt he needed to come here to see what we are spending it on, and what else we need.
“I am thrilled we are delivering positive change here in Clacton – with Levelling Up funding worth £60million and £18million for Clacton Hospital, that’s £78million brand new investment coming here. The requests I have made, this government has answered.
“I first came to the Clacton constituency in 1957, this government is showing more faith, backed with real cash, in our community than I have ever seen. So thank you to the Prime Minister – I’ve always strived to be Clacton’s Man in Westminster, and I am grateful that the Prime Minister has taken such an interest in Clacton, its hopes, its ambitions, and its potential.”
Councillor McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement at Essex County Council, said: “Essex County Council is working closely with local partners and the community to drive real, sustainable change throughout Tendring via our Levelling Up Essex programme.
“We are making significant investment in a variety of projects, not least working with Tendring District Council on this exciting scheme to improve library and adult community learning facilities in the area.
“We are focused on widening access and spreading opportunity, by increasing educational attainment, developing skills, improving access to local jobs and encouraging healthy lifestyles. I was delighted to be able to show the Prime Minister, on the ground, the fantastic work we are doing here.”