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Eric Barker "Connecting Cumbria's Hidden Coast" 17th Nov 21

Mr Eric Barker – Coastal Programme Officer at Copeland Borough Council gave a very inspiring and interesting talk on “Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast from Whitehaven to Millom.

Mr Barker was a former Police Officer, living in Church Street in Whitehaven from 1979-1985. He has been in his current position for the last eighteen months.

Mr Barker outline the aims of the programme and ideas on how to promote the area. Our area is a “hidden gem” – including area of beautiful landscape and cliffs on our doorstep. Reported In The Guardian in 2018 stated of a “unreported coast in West Cumbria” The Lake District is a coast in our patch. An application was submitted to Central Government including Sellafield for money to plan, finance and support the Business Project and successfully was awarded £1.7 million pounds.

Mr Barker laid out the aims of the Coastal Programme:-

1. To make Cumbria a better place to live, work and visit, divesting away from Nuclear Power.
2. Support Government Growth.
3. Maximise World Heritage Site Status.
4. Covid Recovery and Reboot.

The Lake District has 20 million visitors per annum and only eight per cent visit Copeland.

The aspects of the programme is to involve several partnerships working together.

Coastal Challenge Event.

Spring seen the opening of the Whitehaven to Silecroft cycle route.

January/February 2022 – official opening of Silecroft to include Silverdale.

18th June 2022 an Employed Event Organiser will run an event hoping to attract in excess of eight hundred people.

EVENTS

72 Kilometre run from Millom to Beacon in Whitehaven.
Half marathon
10 Kilometre marathon from Millom to Haverigg.

The Focus will be running and walking the cast.

Organisers are hoping to make this an annual event, to attract people to the area.

SILECROFT HUB

Initially Parish plans were put in place in 2011 for a café on the beach.
2014, the first attempt was to be too expensive.
In 2019 Government including Sellafield appointed a company from Millom to design and plan the project starting in the very near future.

The Project is expected to be more than a café. A central hub for several activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming facilities and horses on the beach. The Project is expected to get underway in the next four to six weeks, and hopefully people can come to the area, enjoy the beautiful landscape and create employment. The initiative is on Active travel, walking and cycling and to reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Another project Mr Barker talked about was DAYTIME. This is a programme of Art, including art projects from several famous artists from modern to the present day.

WALKING, CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT

The website is expected to be launched in the next two weeks. This will involve commuting to work – connecting existing routes making them more accessible and extending the cycle routes.

1. Viking Route – Seascale to Gosforth, connecting to Wasdale Head.
2. Esk trail
3. Wath Brow to Ennerdale Bridge in progress
4. St Bees, three areas identified to be improved.

GAME CHANGERS (Dreams of Money)

Creating a degree of positivity to the area, this would involve a large amount of environment and financial planning.
If at a later date successful it certainly would be a game changer for walkers and cyclists alike.

A very inspiring, educational and informative talk, we hope to hear from Mr Barker again, with any new developments that are on the horizon and updates on the existing ones.