Old Leigh is both a working port and one of Southend's top visitor attractions on Tripadvisor.
Southend is applying for levelling-up funding for a project that will further enhance the port by the construction of a new quay wall frontage and the dredging of the area beside the quay wall and channel, plus resurfacing the wharf with improvements to access for the benefit of both visitors and port workers. Maintaining the sustainability of the port is central to the objectives of the project.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, Southend-on-Sea Borough Councillor for Leigh and Cabinet Member for Environment, Culture, Tourism & Planning said: "The Levelling Up Fund is a fantastic opportunity for us to bid for Government funding to improve and enhance our Borough following what has been an extremely challenging year for us all. If approved, this funding would go a long way in helping us not only maintain support for vital economic assets to the town such as Leigh Port, but will also hopefully see a further increase in visitors to the town.
"It is important we bid for Government funding as it allows us to achieve much more than we can by ourselves. If we are successful in these bids, for every £1 we put in, Government will be investing £6, which is a really good return for our town and will help us drive up footfall and visitor spend."
Leigh Port is a small expanse of land spanning roughly 180m of the Southend coastline. This reclaimed area provides boat access and houses 16 cockle sheds where cockles are cooked, processed and sold, as well as housing a small amount of related light industry. It is estimated to account for 15-25% of the total UK annual cockle yield and as such attracts visitor interest with the potential to attract more. In assessing the future of the industry post-Brexit, a recent independent study found that, while there are challenges for the fishing industry, the extent to which they threaten the viability of fishing in Leigh seems limited and the proposed improvements to the port would assist with its stability.
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