There’s no doubt that the European Union has had a significant impact on projects and attractions throughout Essex. Countless local amenities and landmarks have received funding from the EU over the years, whether to boost tourism, create more business opportunities, provide more facilities for locals and improve education in the county.
What will happen if the UK leaves the EU?
Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear what will happen to the funding that local councils will receive after Brexit takes place. While Vote Leave argued that people receiving funding from the EU would continue to receive it until 2020, this would only be feasible if economic growth was not reduced. As economists have predicted leaving the EU will reduce economic growth, the reality is that funding would not continue in the same way.
We’ve taken a look at a couple of local landmarks to understand how the European Union has been involved in their development so far. Some of the findings you may expect; other landmarks with not such an obvious affiliation to the EU have also benefited from funding.
Here are just a few landmarks that have received funding:
Last year, Basildon Council welcomed a grant of £500,000 awarded from the European Regional Development Fund to boost visitor numbers and create more business opportunities for the borough.
Colchester Castle Museum
In 2011, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded to the Castle was matched by the EU, alongside Colchester Borough Council, Renaissance museum hub funding, the Friends of Colchester Museums and Essex Heritage Trust.
The gateway to the Pier from the High Street, known as Pier Hill, received funding from The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister worth £3.7m and £2.1m from The European Union Objective 2 scheme. It was officially opened in 2005.
Thames Estuary Path
As part of the South Essex Marshes project, the 29-mile walk along the coastline from Leigh-on-Sea to Tilbury was funded by Essex County Council, the Veolia Trust and the EU Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme. The aim was to transform the marshes into a more attractive, visitor-friendly landscape.
From Southend to Basildon, Leigh to Colchester, the funding that these Essex projects have received from the EU has been instrumental in their development.
That’s why we’re asking for your support to help us remain in the EU. We’re calling upon our local MPs to represent us in Parliament and demand that we want to remain because we believe Essex, and the rest of the UK, is better off in the EU.
You can sign our petition here: https://www.change.org/p/essex-for-europe
Join our Facebook group to find out more about our action days and latest campaigning activities: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EssexForEurope/
Let us know your thoughts on the future of EU funding and our local landmarks!