Breaking news: Coastal towns lose millions in Government cutbacks

PUBLISHED: 13:32 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:56 15 June 2010

MILLIONS of pounds worth of funding is to be pulled from Seaton and Lyme Regis after a government agency's budget was cut.

MILLIONS of pounds worth of funding is to be pulled from Seaton and Lyme Regis after a government agency's budget was cut.The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) is withdrawing £1.25 million earmarked for the Seaton World Heritage Visitor Centre and £1 million for the Lyme Regis Residential Centre.SWRDA said it had to re-evaluate its spending plans due to a cutback in its budget while the government meets other priorities. At a time when investment in tourism infrastructure is most needed, county and district councils said they were disappointed with the decision.East Devon District Council says it is determined to find funding and deliver the projects.In Seaton, Tesco and Sainsbury's are both declaring an interest in making the visitor centre part of their development offering. Devon County Council's executive member for the environment, Councillor Margaret Rogers, said she hoped SWRDA would reverse its 'disappointing' decision. She said: "We appreciate that we are all affected by the credit crunch, but this is the time to invest in our tourism industry which makes this funding so vital to our local economy."I will ensure that both DCC and the Jurassic Coast Trust lobby for the necessary funding to be allocated to these projects."Councillor Stephanie Jones, EDDC's Seaton Champion, said: "Seaton has a great part to play in the Jurassic Coast story. "This is, of course, a setback but we must re-double our efforts to find a way of filling the funding gap. If more people will be holidaying in the UK, now is the time to make Seaton more inviting."Seaton's mayor Sandra Semple said that, although Exmouth equally lost out, Seaton would probably be affected more because its plans were more advanced.She said: "I think it's an enormous setback for the projects. The funding was going to be the backbone and it makes the job of bringing a visitor centre forward even more difficult - especially in the current climate."Marcus Dixon, who was helping to develop the idea of a residential centre in Lyme Regis to study the World Heritage Site, believed the money was withdrawn because it could not be shown they would deliver by 2011. He said: "Obviously it's disappointing from our point of view but it doesn't affect what we're doing. We still have a compelling enough case to develop the centre and will attract funding.

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