COUNTY and town hall bosses are bidding for £20million to improve Clacton town centre as part of a Government fund aimed at “levelling-up” following the devastating economic impacts of Covid-19.

Essex County Council said bids have been made to renew some of the county’s most deprived areas and lay the foundations for ambitious future growth.

The Levelling Up Fund aims to regenerate town centres through new commercial and cultural areas, and improvements to sustainable transport and public spaces, with a decision due on the bid in the autumn.

If successful the bid proposes creating an new events space in the town square and a covered market and starter units in Pier Avenue, a new library and adult learning centre, flexible office space, new homes, starter business units and a new multi-storey car park in Carnarvon Road and other public realm and highways works, including promoting electric vehicles.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Plan - the bid includes three seperate projects

Mary Newton, Tendrign Council's cabinet member for business and economic growth, said this was an exciting prospect for the town.

“Even before Covid town centres have been changing as we adapt to new ways of shopping, socialising and working – and I emphasis changing, not declining,” she said.

“This bid represents the first phase of the Love Clacton Vision, developed through engagement with town centre businesses and other stakeholders, and offers a real opportunity to re-shape and revitalise the area and support our green objectives.

“We believe this is a really strong bid, and are hopeful of a positive decision from government to help us get Back to Business.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Excited - Mary Newton, cabinet member for business and economic growth

Tendrign Council and Essex County Council have pledged around £18m in match-funding to the project, in support of the bid The bid is based around a previous application made to the Future High Streets Fund, which was unsuccessful, But Clacton has now been designated as a priority area for the Levelling Up Fund in Essex, along with Harlow, for the Levelling Up Fund.

The proposal is for short, medium and long-term improvements, with the aim that the project begins this financial year and is completed over the next three to four years.

Lesley Wagland, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for economic renewal, said: “These bids will support some of the places and people in Essex most affected by Covid to bounce back, help revitalise the town centres of Harlow and Tendring, and lay the foundations for long-term recovery."

Harwich Labour county councillor Ivan Henderson called for help for the whole of Tendring.

“Even before the pandemic, our town centres in Tendring were really struggling," he said, “I welcome the bid for cash for recovery as we need to support our retailers in our town centres - as that means jobs for local people.

“But my understanding is this would be used for the project to revitalise Clacton.

“I’d like to remind those making the bids that Clacton is not the only show in town and we need to see investment spread across Tendring, including in Dovercourt."

“All we keep seeing is bids for millions to be spent in Clacton.”