A new Centre for Coastal Communities is set be established in Clacton by the University of Essex as part of the £20m town centre improvement project being backed by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
The University was one of the partners which supported Tendring District Council’s successful bid for the transformational funding.
Part of the bid which gained Government backing outlined how the Centre for Coastal Communities could be established to lead on adult education and establish a research presence in Tendring. The many benefits included bringing further footfall into the area, diversifying the demographic of visitors and establishing a nationally significant academic centre which will help to build the profile of Clacton and help to create greater private sector confidence to invest in the area.
Professor David O’Mahony, Dean of Partnerships – Research, said the University will now work with Tendring to finalise a formal agreement to take the Centre forward, which will form part of the Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing established by the University in 2022.
He said: “We are so excited about being involved in this project which will have such a significant impact in Clacton. We want the Centre for Coastal Communities to play a key role in extending the educational opportunities in Clacton and the wider Tendring area.
“We also have a very ambitious vision for what our Centre for Coastal Communities can achieve in Tendring, regionally and nationally. It will allow the University and partners to put in place a step-change in our engagement with, and support for coastal communities. The Centre will be a national hub of excellence for championing coastal communities.
“Partnership is key to our vision. The University will collaborate with a range of partners, including service users and members of these communities, in creating this centre. We have a strong track-record and interest in working in collaboration with local authorities and national groups, including the Coastal Communities Alliance, the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, Essex County Council and Tendring District Council.
“The Centre will focus on addressing inequalities and opportunities in many coastal communities and will use the University strengths in Data Analytics, Public Health, educational based outreach, the development of new technologies and cross-disciplinary research, as well as arts and cultural innovations and opportunities to address the considerable need and potential in our coastal communities.”
Clacton’s Levelling Up Fund bid centred on the site of Carnarvon House and the town library to create a new library and learning space, café, a community and commercial building and 28 homes, along with improvements to the multi-storey car park.
Work has already begun to demolish Carnarvon House in preparation for the project.
Cllr Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Partnerships, said: “Developing skills and educational attainment is a key priority for us, and having a central presence from the University of Essex in this way will inspire and support our young people to achieve that; as well as all of the other benefits outlined. That is why working with partners is such an important path to success for Clacton and Tendring.”
Cllr Lesley Wagland, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, said: “Everyone’s Essex, our plan for levelling up the county, sets out how ECC is working with all partners, including the University of Essex and Tendring District Council, to address the drivers of socio-economic inequality.
“We aim to build a higher skilled and healthier workforce which is able to access good, higher paying jobs. The proposed expansion of the University of Essex to Clacton would be an important step in driving change toward that important aim; increasing the pipeline of these higher paid jobs, and significant business opportunities.”
For more information about the project visit www.tendringdc.gov.uk/clactonluf