WHITBY is set to benefit from over £3.4 million in funding after grants from the Coastal Communities Fund were announced this week.
The grants will see £2.6 million spent at Whitby Business Park, while Whitby train station and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway are set to benefit to the tune of £800,000.
The borough council estimate that the business park development has the potential to create more than 2,700 jobs through the proposed potash mine and wind farm projects.
Coun Derek Bastiman, cabinet portfolio holder for strategic planning and regeneration, said: “This grant represents a huge vote of confidence from the Department for Communities and Local Government in the work this council is doing to attract investment and jobs, and help retrain and upskill local people to ensure we deliver prosperity for the people of Whitby and the borough.
“The potash mine and offshore wind industry have the potential to completely transform the area and bring a new dimension to the local economy which for so long has relied heavily on tourism. Investing in the business park and its infrastructure, as well as people and their skills, will help ensure we are in the best possible position to capitalise for the benefit of our residents.”
Of the 20 successful grant applications announced by the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles MP, the £2.599,373 awarded to Scarborough Borough Council is the highest in England and represents around 10 per cent of the total money awarded.
In their 40th anniversary year the NYMR is also celebrating as £1.4 million is set to be invested in the railway, including the £800,000 from the community fund.
Network Rail had already pledged £500,000 and the Coastal Communities money will also open the door to a further £100,000 from the Railway Heritage Trust.
This money will be used to reopen the second platform at Whitby train station and NYMR General Manager Philip Benham said he believes the knock-on effects have the potential to bring an extra £6 million into the local economy each year.
“It’s probably the biggest single sum invested in Whitby’s railway since the Beeching report of the 1970s.
“This is really exciting news, not only for NYMR, but also for the whole Whitby community. This is the ideal start to our 40th anniversary year, and reflects the growing success of our steam service - now in its seventh year. It is also a hugely important boost for the Esk Valley railway line.”
The funding will allow NYMR to increase the number of trains it runs daily into Whitby from three to five. Mr Benham believes this has the potential to bring an extra 50,000 passengers to Whitby each year, raising an extra £140,000 for the railway in the first year, rising to £400,000 by year three.
This will create around 15 jobs on the railway itself, with another 52 in the wider tourism sector.
With tourism suffering a slump at present due to the economic downturn, Mr Benham said he hopes this investment will arrest the decline.
The sum will allow extra amenities to be added to the station, included toilet facilities.
Platform One will be totally unaffected by the works and there should be no disruption to services.