A PROJECT which would have enhanced access at Charmouth has received a knock back after its funding application was not granted by the Coastal Communities Fund.

The aim of the Lyme Regis/Charmouth Enhancement Project, which included an access ramp at Charmouth and improved public realm at Lyme Regis, was to deliver improved public space and a better business backdrop.

It was part of a portfolio of five projects across the county, which was supported by all the relevant local authorities at town, borough/district and county level, the Environment Agency, Public Health Dorset, Southwestern Railway, Network Rail and a number of prominent local businesses, which had bid for more than £2m from the Coastal Communities Fund’s fifth round.

Against competition, where 61 applications worth £84 million bid for just £34 million of funding, ‘Gateways to Business in Dorset’ was unsuccessful.

Dorset Coast Forum (DCF), which headed up the partnership portfolio bid, says it is disappointed with the outcome but is 'looking positively to the future'.

DCF co-ordinator, Natalie Poulter, said: “We’ve built a good portfolio of four really strong projects which we still feel could offer significant benefits to residents. We’re really disappointed that this application was unsuccessful, but we know there is a lot of support for these projects locally, so we’re keen to explore other ways of taking elements of them forwards and make that difference for our coastal communities.”

DCF says it will now work closely with the project planning teams to explore funding options, and to make sure that any match funding which has been committed is used in the best way possible towards delivering key aspects of the projects.

Natalie said “It’s important for these communities to know that we’re not giving up, and that we’re exploring all other options. This includes innovative funding sources we might not have explored previously, business sponsorship and a range of other options. We invite other potential funders to come forwards if they’d like to find out more about what we want to deliver and how they could get involved.”