East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s refurbishment of Bridlington Spa has earned it the Most Sustainable Outcome award from the Institute of Economic Development (IED), the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners in local and regional communities.
As part of the Bridlington Regeneration Strategy, dance, theatre and conference venue Bridlington Spa was identified as being ideally placed to capture the regeneration aspirations of the town and the local authority, given its unique position as a physical and spiritual landmark for over 100 years of Bridlington’s history.
The development was undertaken as the focal point for regeneration of the whole area.
The £25million refurbishment project ran from 2006-2008 and East Riding of Yorkshire Council submitted its nomination for the IED award to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Bridlington Spa’s re-launch.
The nomination also highlighted how, in midst of the economic downturn, the council took the management and operation of the facility in-house rather than as a contracted service to ensure that regeneration plans for the resort could be maximised.
The impact of the project has been far-reaching: there were 300,000 visitors to Bridlington Spa in 2018 compared to just 130,000 in 2008; and over 1,000 events will be held at Bridlington Spa in 2018-19, up from 159 in 2010-11.
Total ticket sales have increased from 36,614 to 88,514 in eight years and income from the Christmas/New Year pantomime is up by 368% in the same period.
A new café opened in 2017 and, in 2018, the long-term aim of the regeneration strategy to secure a new 80-bedroom hotel for the resort was realised with the opening of the new Premier Inn hotel with restaurant and bar facilities providing over 50 jobs for local people.
Councillor Andy Burton, portfolio holder for economic investment at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “To many Bridlington is the Spa and the Spa is Bridlington.
"We have taken a tired and underperforming seaside attraction to a point where we have re-established Bridlington Spa as an iconic, multi-purpose landmark building in Bridlington which has significantly increased visitors to the town and provided enormous benefit to the local economy.
"We entered the IED awards because Bridlington Spa is a shining example of a successful economic development project and we, and our community, are extremely proud of it; and because it is working well and we wanted to share this good practice with others. It has been a very long journey, but we are delighted to have won this award from our national professional body.”
IED Chair Bev Hurley said: “We would like to congratulate East Riding of Yorkshire Council on winning our Most Sustainable Outcome award for 2018. Judges were impressed with the risk-taking and entrepreneurialism of the project which has created a strong and sustainable income-generation model for the future.
"Operating the facility in-house is out of vogue but appears to have been central to the success shown.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s award success was announced at the IED Annual Awards 2018, staged as part of the IED Annual Conference in London, on 6th December.
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