Increased investment is always welcome news for our coastal communities. So which cities and towns are currently the ones to watch? Read on and find out… Words Lesley Gillilan
1. FOR… ART AND DESIGN
The V&A Museum, which opened in 2018, is just part of the £1bn Dundee Waterfront regeneration scheme that’s in the process of turning a swathe of Scotland’s fourth largest city into an international design hub. The museum, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, is the centre piece but there's lots more: themed gardens linked to an urban beach and a boardwalk along the Tay Estuary; an improved railway station; and, in Seabraes, innovative work spaces for creatives. One of the largest redevelopment projects in the UK, this transformation is expected to create new communities of riverside homes and around 7,000 jobs (dundeewaterfront.com
). Average house price: £163,951.
2. FOR… AN ICON REBORN
Whitley Bay, Tyneside
The Spanish City is the Brighton Pavilion of the north – or it was until it closed in 2000, leaving the entertainment centre empty and the seafront looking unloved. It has now been restored and reopened in July 2018 offering indoor leisure facilities including restaurants (with Trenchers Restaraunt awarded Best Fish and Chips in the UK 2020), tearooms, event spaces and a Champagne and Oyster bar. As part of a coastal redevelopment plan by North Tyneside Council and delivered by restaurant enterprise Kymel, the Spanish City is the icing on the cake for Whitley Bay, which has emerged as the surfing capital of the north east. Average house price: £227,289
3. FOR… HOLIDAYS REVIVED
This North Wales resort is in the throes of a £33m redevelopment that aims to kick-start the economy and re-invent itself, having previously featured in the ‘Crap Town’ books. Projects include a revamped Pavilion Theatre, a new hotel, affordable homes, a new high school and improvements to existing attractions like the Children’s Village. The Sky Tower (erected in 1993, closed in 2011) has now become a ‘decorative light beacon’ brightening up the seafront where a £15m Water Park and new Aquatic Centre opened in 2019. Average house price: £143,386.
4. FOR… SEAFRONT AND CITY
Sunderland, Tyne & Wear
Among a series of schemes designed to enhance the centre of this port city, the biggest is the regeneration of the former Vaux Brewery – where a big chunk of cliff-top land is to provide offices, shops, restaurants, a hotel and apartments, plus paths, cycle-ways and ‘active streets’ that link the Wear riverside to the city. Meanwhile, Sunderland’s suburban beach resorts – Seaburn and Roker – have plans to update the seafront and tackle declining visitor numbers. In Roker, the 1903 lighthouse and pier has already been restored and opened to the public in summer 2018. Average house price: £142,721
5. FOR… BEACHES AND DREAMS
In the 19th century, this was Cornwall’s industrial heartland – a landscape of coal shipping and copper smelting. Hayle has a long way to go to catch up with, say, neighbouring St Ives, but it has high ambitions. Plans have been approved for Hayle South Quay, a mix of contemporary homes, shops and restaurants linked to the town centre by a footbridge over Penpol Creek. Estate agent Lillicrap Chilcott says the scheme will ‘revitalise Hayle’s waterfront’, as well as highlight the town’s unique combination of hard-working harbour and exceptional beaches. Average house price: £247,905.
6. FOR… SEASIDE NOSTALGIA
The bright lights of Blackpool may have dimmed a little in recent years but the resort is in the throes of a re-invention. On the South Shore, out-dated hotels have made way for housing and a new Hilton; Blackpool Pleasure Beach opened a £12m hotel in 2019 and the town is also to get its first ever museum. Set to open in 2022 in the Palatine Building next to Blackpool Tower, Showtown will be the first museum the country to celebrate the British seaside holiday. Average house price: £124,123.
7. FOR… EASY COMMUTING
With a four-lane access road through its midst, this place is more ferry port than town, but a collection of ambitious regeneration schemes invites us to ‘take a fresh look at Dover’. While the waterfront is to deliver a mix of hotels, retail and leisure, the town centre is getting a facelift, enterprise zones are popping up and a massive house building programme is under way. Some 14,000 new homes are in the pipeline for 2031, including 300 at Dover Waterfront and 500 on the site of former Connaught Barracks. Also on the horizon is a cable car linking the waterfront to Dover Castle. The town is keen to reinforce its handy location: an hour from London by high-speed train, and 21 miles from Europe. Average house price: £242,197.
8. FOR… REVITALISED DOCKLANDS
A recent wave of redevelopment has concentrated on jazzing up Plymouth’s waterfront – notably the £160m transformation of Millbay: the once-seedy inner city docklands area, now re-emerging as the ‘Coastal Quarter’. The project has already delivered a School of Creative Arts, a marina, sell-out housing and a recently completed boulevard that connects the waterfront to the city centre. Next in the pipeline is a mixed-use scheme of more than 100 homes, quayside restaurants, shops and studios. Meanwhile, in nearby Devonport, Europe’s first 360˚ cinema complex is soon to open in a former market hall as part of £7m ‘immersive technology centre’. Average house price: £210,964.
9. FOR… TOWN-CENTRE LIVING
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were among the big-name bands that appeared at Bournemouth’s Winter Gardens but the former music venue – which was demolished in 2006 – is about to make way for a £150m revamp of the town’s Exeter Road area. The largest development in the town’s history, the mixed-use scheme plans to create a modern complex offering leisure, shopping, car-parking, cycle spaces, landscaped gardens, a piazza for open-air events, restaurants and more than 350 apartments in four multi-storey buildings, many with sea views. The beach is just a stroll away. Average house price: £301,130.
10. FOR… COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE
For nearly two decades, the future of Watchet’s redundant East Quay has been a matter of heated debate. Now, a plan led by local social enterprisers, the Onion Collective, has the town’s blessing. Having already delivered a new visitor centre, the collective has proposed a community-based regeneration scheme that combines waterside workshops, artists’ studios, gallery, restaurant and accommodation pods. The driving force of the scheme, says Jessica Prendergast, one of the collective’s directors, is to nurture creative enterprise and help boost tourism and the scale of the architect-designed building will allow the quayside to continue as a working boatyard. Due to open in summer 2021. Average house price: £235,015.
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