Mablethorpe councillor: ‘I pay tribute to all those involved’

Mablethorpe councillor Adrian Benjamin has given his response to the successful Towns Fund bid, revealed earlier this month.

Councillor Adrian Benjamin

He said: “As an elected member for Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea on the Connected Coast Town Board, I would like to pay tribute to those whose work has now met with the success announced in the budget.

“Our MP Victoria Atkins was the one who first pushed for our community to be included in this initiative. Even though we are among the smallest of the 101 towns to which this offer was made, the government’s analysis has shown how right Victoria was to make this move - for on this indicator we appear as having the town with the 17th highest degree of deprivation.

“The work of the team of officers appointed by ELDC to steer the application forward has been exemplary - literally so, as part of their work has now been commended by the government as an example for other authorities nationally.

“Input from the community was considered vital, and once more here our application scored highly with so many positive proposals being made. A year ago this consultation process was kicked off (just before the first lockdown) with the Mablethorpe Area Partnership’s open day at the Coastal Centre... and I still have on my desk the stickers posted at that event with so many suggestions.

“The difficulty now is that such great expectations, and such a welcome success, could lead to despondency. We must remind ourselves that to meet all the aspirations that have been expressed would take far more than the (still incredible) £24 million on the table. Then it must be remembered that the award is not a magic wand leading to an overnight transformation. There is much heavy lifting to be done.

“Before the money can be released, a thorough 12 month examination must be made of each of the projects now being taken forward.

“We need, for instance, to check their details against building regulations, while resilient business plans must be created to ensure such concepts as the longed for swimming pool will not become a loss-making enterprise.

“There is though also now the excitement of the likelihood that this investment will attract more. We on the Town Board, under the inspired leadership of Sarah Louise Fairburn, are already looking for other opportunities to fulfil our dreams, many of which really do stand a chance of coming true.

“As an example of this, ELDC is sending off an application to the ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’. As I said at the ELDC Budget Meeting, there is no point in having such great developments on our coast if our winding roads are going to deter people from coming.”