Our coast is one of our most valued natural assets, but also subject to erosion and rising sea levels. Some of our coastal communities are already exceptionally prosperous and some suffer from significant deprivation. Others however, offer considerable unrealised potential and the possibility of significant economic growth.

We see opportunities in tourism, low‐carbon technologies (including offshore wind, solar power and other renewable energy sources), creative and cultural industries, manufacturing, engineering and business services. Thus, we are clear that we must focus on promoting investment in Clacton, Jaywick, Hastings, Bexhill, Newhaven, Eastbourne, Harwich, Sheerness, Margate, Folkestone, Dover, Southend and Sandwich.

Coastal Communities Working Group

Given the length of coastline in the SELEP area, stretching from Harwich in north through Thanet and Folkestone to Newhaven in the South, the SELEP area is faced with huge opportunities and challenges and with strong interest and representation at local level. The LEP Coastal Communities Working Group is working hard with partners to close the gap between coastal and regional economy.

Aims and objectives of the group

  • Bring together all parties including coastal agencies, MHCLG, BEIS, national and local transport bodies, skills bodies and educators, the Coastal Community Teams’ representatives, coastal businesses, and local authority economic representatives to drive Coastal Economic Development.
  • Working collaboratively to understand coastal objectives; promote coastal growth priorities and, assemble evidence, identify obstacles and find solutions. This group in turn engages with stakeholders relating to coastal priority sectors and infrastructure to progress the work of the group.
  • SELEP to support Coastal Growth Ambitions. SELEP provide support and advocacy to areas with growth plans and areas of regeneration, particularly with the tourism and visitor economy; helping to link coastal areas to the regional economy and to support the work to help improve the quality of Coastal Communities.
  • Actively lobby coastal issues and act as ambassadors for the coastal area we represent
  • SELEP can provide additionality and support to local plans by encouraging councils to bring forward their local plans.
  • Review funding and bidding opportunities - identify bidding opportunities based on funding programmes available. Endorse bids and stimulate joint bidding discussions.
  • Apply for Sector Support Funding to develop a coastal action plan/ issues paper
  • Input into SELEP strategies and provide feedback
  • Support innovative ideas and their application to coastal communities
  • Promote best practice - suppport meetings by sharing best-practice and information to improve coastal propositions.
  • Look across LEP boundaries - look at the plans and proposals of neighboring LEPs and their impact in preparing for growth in coastal communities.