Maryport regeneration scheme
Maryport is an ancient harbour town founded by the Roman Army on the Solway Estuary, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This compact attractive Georgian town went into economic decline in the 1930’s and has never fully recovered. The town has some deep seated socio-economic issues that have hardened as competitor locations have become more attractive.
The plan sets out deliverable priority projects to improve the quality of place. It also sets out strategic projects and opportunities that can address underlying issues that must be influenced if the town is to become truly successful.
How Maryport could look
Read the Maryport regeneration plan
Click on the centre circle to read the report in full screen
The creation of an annual series of events would bring life and vitality to the town and whilst they are focused at local people, they would also attract visitors from neighbouring districts and further afield.
The lost opportunity of the condition of The Promenade and its environs was also a theme that arose in each session, and indeed was identified in the original spatial analysis of the town; i.e. the benefits of the town’s location on the Solway Coast. This also links to many of the health and wellbeing issues that are prevalent in Maryport, and is therefore considered to also be a high priority, with different levels of intervention which will help in its delivery and funding.
This public realm based project was met with some doubt, particularly by Members as it was felt that this does not properly address the traffic flows on this road and that any alternative routing would be prohibitive. Further explanation that it is more about capturing the attention of drivers that do pass by on this primary route, encouraging them to visit the town, and more importantly to create a more attractive and safe pedestrian environment that would help to overcome one of the key ‘separators’ in the town linking the railway station and its improved services, the new Hub and residential areas beyond, was met with significant support.
The Harbour area was identified as a tremendous opportunity and the ease and potential of temporary buildings in this area was generally supported in all discussions. This area also accommodates the main attractions of The Wave Centre and the aquarium which could be improved to create an area of wider appeal and interest to local residents and longer term, drawing in more spend and higher footfall, hence its inclusion in the ‘Top 5’.
The strengths of the historic character of the town and its feeling of community and the opportunities of heritage-led regeneration, positive re-use of vacant units and shop front improvements, enterprise and entrepreneurship and support of business growth, will all support the intervention to re-energise Senhouse Street. It will be a catalytic project for the rest of the town centre core to follow.
Projects to influence
Education has been a theme running throughout discussions and indeed is a key tool in a successful future for Maryport. Primary schools continue to achieve good standards and Netherhall School has recently received a ‘good’ rating, having been ‘transformed in a remarkably short period of time’1 . This improvement will help to encourage more parents to actively seek to live within the catchment, increasing housing demand with knock on impacts of increasing housing development and the widening of the socio-economic make-up of the town.
In parallel with improving education standards, understanding barriers to housing development will be key to working with housing developers to get them on site. Whilst the Council can assist by being ‘open for business’ and work to make the planning system as straightforward as possible, they cannot force developers to proceed with their schemes, but can work with them to encourage and influence that aim. Equally, working with housing providers to improve existing stock will be key in contributing to improved liveability.
The development of The Hub should increase patronage on the rail line but the poor quality of service and facilities was a consistent issue amongst stakeholders. There is potential to work with Network Rail and Northern Rail to influence physical investment in the station and improvements to local services, both of which will be important to maximise the benefits of the station to the town. The town should benefit from the potential of The Hub, attracting commuters to employment locations including Carlisle, Whitehaven and Sellafield, all of which are easily accessible by rail.
Maryport has a wealth of history to draw upon to create a new level of interest. In particular, its Roman roots as displayed in the Senhouse Museum and the archaeological potential of its surroundings, its shipping history, Camp Farm and Georgian architecture. Working with the relevant partners , including North of England Civic Trust to reveal the town’s heritage assets in the context of wider regeneration.
This project is to commit to the potential of the Tidal Lagoon in principle and become influential in its progression. This would involve discussions with key partners at local, regional and national levels, including landowners, regulators and environmental groups to understand the potential benefits, impacts and mitigation measures.
Funding and timescale
The indicative cost to deliver the plan is around £3m, which is scalable and could be higher or lower depending on the projects. The Council will contribute funding to the project, as well as applying for grants from external sources, such as the Coastal Communities Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. It is also hoped the improvements will encourage businesses in the town centre to invest in their own properties.
There is a phased timetable for the projects with many able to begin immediately, whilst others require significant capital investment and preparatory work to get under way. However it is hoped all of the improvements will be in place within the next decade.