Page last updated at 00:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 01:48 UK

Olympic revamp for town seafront

Proposed Weymouth seafront revamp
An artist's impression of how the town's seafront may look

Plans to revamp Weymouth seafront in time for the 2012 Olympics can move ahead to the next stage following a 6.6m funding boost.

The South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) agreed to fund the Esplanade Regeneration Project, which it says will transform the seafront.

It could create 180 jobs and boost the town's economy by 4.8m a year.

Weymouth and Portland are due to host the sailing events for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

The project includes new beach rescue and tourist information buildings, and five new focal points to link the seafront with the town centre and harbour areas and give a greater priority to pedestrians.

Also, there are plans for a lighting scheme that will bring the Victorian lights along the seafront back into use alongside the promenade's Victorian shelters.

Proposed Weymouth seafront revamp
The project includes new beach rescue and tourist information buildings

Tony Bray, the South West RDA's Dorset director, said: "The seafront project will boost the local economy and unlock its business potential by positioning Weymouth and Portland as a 21st Century destination.

"The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games mean the eyes of the world will be on us so we all want to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and ensure that we leave a lasting legacy.

"We have seen from other resorts like Torbay that enhanced public spaces can have a transforming effect by attracting more visitors and lengthening the tourist season."

Construction is expected to start in the spring next year.

The South West RDA also agreed to increase its budget by 5.75m at the 21m Osprey Quay on Portland - a 560- berth commercial marina that will host the sailing.

Last week the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said work to transform Weymouth and Portland's sailing facilities for 2012 was "racing towards the finishing line".

The world class sailing venue on Portland is expected to be completed in November.

Mr Bray, added: "The South West RDA is very pleased to be working in such close partnership with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on both of these exciting projects and will we continue regeneration efforts in both Weymouth and Portland over the coming years."


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