Copeland Borough Council Community Regeneration Officer, Eric Barker, gave a presentation on the recently prepared South Copeland Coast economic plan.
A copy is available, please leave a comment below or contact Eric direct if you would like one.
The South Copeland Coastal Communities Team (SCCCT) will work with partners and stakeholders to support and facilitate the development and delivery of projects and businesses that stimulate and underpin the sustainable economic growth of the South Copeland Coastal region.
The Western Lake District brand is increasingly recognised as a destination for relaxed and unhurried tourism. Beautiful unspoilt coastline, unique opportunities for watersports and breathtaking views. The valleys provide links to and from the heart of the Lake District.
This first report looked at the potential economic and health benefits of the development of a Sustrans National Cycle Network route along the coast connecting the coastal communities between Seascale and Millom and growing cycling tourism.
Eric highlighted the benefits of the Sea to Sea C2C route stretching from Whitehaven on the West Coast to Sunderland on the North East Coast of England. Eric had travelled along last year. This attracts significant visitor numbers and spend along the route with accommodation providers and bicycle service providers.
At present the route would involve some sections of busy roads. The new route would make careful use of quieter roads and new links between existing sections. Careful signing and volunteer rangers monitor and maintain the new route.
This is the approach adopted in the Morecambe Bay cycle route. So far usage statistics based on purchase of maps has exceeded all predictions.
The plan is long term - perhaps five years or so.
Considerable support was expressed during the questions and feedback.
Million Network Centre's Unit3 Training Facility already provides training in bicycle maintenance as part of the flexible support program for unemployed members of the community. For many participants at Unit3 bicycles provide economic transport to local jobs. Increased access to the National Cycle Network can only help this.
In more general discussion concern was raised at the economic impact of the A591 repairs. It recognised that negative signals about the disruption caused by damaged transport links in the heart of the Lake District were being sent out to potential tourists.
Also discussed was the lack of support for a Tourism Development Officer South Copeland.