THE Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa has received more than half a million pounds of government money for its planned beachfront regeneration project in a move hailed as a boost for the local economy.
The hotel has been awarded £525,000 by the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) to help support the ambitious project.
Planning permission is already in place for the scheme, which the hotel says will create more than 65 jobs, a water sports centre, conference and wedding room, plus a community hub for Carbis Bay.
It is one of more than 50 projects across the UK sharing of £27.7 million given through the Communities Fund, delivered by the Big Lottery on behalf of the Government.
The news has been welcomed by businesses in Carbis Bay and St Ives, although some residents say they are concerned about plans to build eight beachfront holiday homes to help fund the project.
It has also raised hackles in Penzance, where a bid for money to repair the much-loved Jubilee Pool – damaged in the February storms – has been rejected by the CCF.
The vision for the Carbis Bay centre – first reported in The Cornishman in December 2012 – is that it would make the area a focal point for the community, as well as leisure and business visitors, supporting a year-round economy.
Stephen Baker, project manager and owner of the hotel and spa said: "We're absolutely delighted to have been awarded the grant; it will go a long way towards helping us deliver our flagship regeneration project and support sustainable economic growth in Carbis Bay.
"The beachfront regeneration will benefit the local community and local economy, and help to reduce the seasonality of the tourism industry in West Cornwall."
Malcolm Bell, head of tourism body Visit Cornwall, said: "The awarding of the grant is excellent news, not only for the Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa but also for the wider Cornish tourism industry. Stephen Baker has shown confidence in investing in the hotel at a time when many other businesses are reluctant to spend, and once completed the beachfront development will be a huge asset to Carbis Bay, St Ives and west Cornwall."
The overall development is being funded by direct investment from Mr Baker and his son Stephen Baker, the hotel's co-owner, supported by the grant and the revenue from selling the planned beachfront apartments.
The Bakers have already spent £5 million on improvements to the hotel, including a £750,000 spa which was opened last year.
The next stage of the development will be phased over three years.
St Ives MP Andrew George said: "I'm delighted that the hotel and spa has been awarded this grant, which will support its beachfront regeneration project."