Projects: The Bay Coastal Community Team
Our Brilliant Bay and the Bay Coastal Community Team
The five square and sunny miles of eastern Isle of Wight, encompassing Luccombe, Shanklin, Lake, Sandown, Yaverland and Culver, known simply as ‘The Bay’, is one of the Island’s three big urban centres and the core of the Island’s tourism industry. Here’s a quick factfile and gazetteer:
22,500 residents, half a million annual visitors, three towns, two villages, one of the longest sandy beaches in the UK; 44 shipwrecks, 25 churches, 50 listed buildings; 900 ft of pier, 2 deserted medieval villages, stone age axes and arrowheads, 1000 Roman coins, 4 historic gardens; 8 forts, a zoo, Pterodactyls in 100ft cliffs; a castle lost in the sea, a petrified forest, conger eels and seahorses, Peregrine falcons and Ravens; and 31 pubs!
It is an amazing place, but in common with so many English resorts, it faces tough times. Fragile seasonal economies, demographic stresses and lack of investment are familiar themes and that’s precisely why The Bay has enthusiastically joined the club of Coastal Community Teams (CCTs) working for change, regeneration and a better future. There are 118 CCTs around the country take a look at http://www.coastalcommunities.co.uk. Arc as lead partner is helping to head up the CCT’s programme, Shaping the Bay.
Here in The Bay the CCT’s focus is on bringing to life that packed local content, the natural and social histories, the celebration of nationally important landscapes and special wildlife, the public spaces, parks, gardens, 5 miles of beach and 15 square miles of marine protected area, the hidden stories of the three towns, the networks of places and spaces that are free for everyone and all the time. These are raw materials for revitalisation and regeneration that are already here, we just need to set them to work to stimulate enterprise and employment, health and wellbeing and a sustainable lift in the fortunes of The Bay community.
Between September and December last year over 4000 people participated in Shaping the Bay events, meetings, on-line and drop-in consultations, school projects and reminiscence groups to add their thoughts and ideas to the CCT plan for The Bay. The result is a list of 29 projects that fix and renew public realm and green infrastructure, make places of interest more accessible for all ages, and celebrate and expand the things that are already great!
There’s ambition in there too – a marine research centre based on Artecology, new materials and designs for a more biodiverse coastal infrastructure; a sharing economy centre (the Imagination Refinery) trading incubator space for time spent on community projects in The Bay; a 5 mile coastal garden (The Lost Duver); sea safaris and floating playparks.
There’s much to do, and a new not-for-profit organization, The Common Space, has been set up to search out support for the task ahead and get things moving. Already work has begun on restoring historic buildings, developing research and funding links with universities, and creating new events in the Bay’s calendar and over £100,000 has been brought into The Bay by the CCT. But that’s just the start!
So here’s to the future of this fantastic place, The Bay, its people and its places. Hip Hip…….
For more information on the Great British Coast, visit www.thegreatbritishcoast.co.uk.
Twitter: @communitiesUK #coastalteams
Shaping the Bay Picture Galleries: