Bid to refloat sea tourism plan

PUBLISHED: 08:02 16 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:02 16 April 2015

The Balmoral pulls into West Bay harbour  on one of her cruises along the Jurassic Coast

The Balmoral pulls into West Bay harbour on one of her cruises along the Jurassic Coast

Archant

£1million pier could be built at Seaton to accommodate cruise ships

Moves are being made to refloat plans for a waterborne transport link along the Jurassic Coast.

Sheila Kerridge, the district’s tourism champion, says towns and villages promote themselves well but they need to pull together to sell East Devon as a destination.

She is calling for an overarching policy for attracting visitors.

And she said a new officer role is needed to revive plans for a waterborne transport link that have stalled despite a lot of work and interest from communities all along the Jurassic Coast.

“The whole of our coastline does a fantastic job of promoting themselves but it’s very disjointed,” she said.

“We need a tourism officer to promote East Devon as one.”

The 90-mile Jurassic Coast spans Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras.

It was the first natural World Heritage Site in England but Cllr Kerridge said many residents are unaware of that fact, adding: “Seeing it from the sea gives a whole new perspective and brings it to life.

“There’s been so much interest in the marine link – it’s such a fantastic project.

“It’s something I think needs to go forward. It would be so good for East Devon, especially Sidmouth and Seaton.”

But a waterborne transport link – with a ‘pleasure cruiser’ rather than a ferry – would need significant investment that is not currently available to build piers in those two towns.

Engineers last year quoted £1million for a long, low-pitched concrete jetty structure for Seaton.

She added that the best perspective of the Jurassic Coast is from the sea and everyone, from tourists to residents and cyclists to schoolchildren, would benefit from the marine link.

There is also a bid to have the East Devon and West Dorset Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty listed as a national park, but this has been put on the back burner.

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