On Saturday 17th July, The Mayor of Seaford was honoured to be invited to carry out the official opening of the Seaford Gateway; linking the Seaford seafront and its plentiful visitors with the vibrant Seaford town centre and its broad range of independent shops, cafés, galleries and other points of interest.

Gateway marker - a white seagull printed on a bright blue circle, bearing the words town centre

The Gateway project was the brainchild of Seaford Community Partnership who, through the Impact Seaford group, joined forces with Seaford Chamber of Commerce and Seaford Town Council along with the support of Seaford Rotary and Lewes District Council, to bring this project to life. Part of the funding was provided by the Seaford Chamber of Commerce but crucial further funding for the project came from HM Government and European Union, European Regional Development Fund.

Seaford seafront becomes more popular year on year and as a result, the Partnership and its partners saw an opportunity to look at how coastal visitors can be encouraged in to the nearby but not immediately visible town centre, to support the local traders. The project has taken some time to plan but substantial changes have been made recently and added urgency has been given to help hard pressed local businesses recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The path of the Gateway is created by beautifully designed seagull signs on the pavement and posts at intervals between the seafront and the town centre, as well as new map signs on the seafront highlighting this. Local designer Onneke is to be thanked for the splendid artwork produced for the gateway.

The signs on the seafront from the end of Dane Road and from the Martello Tower point to the Gateway which begins at the newly installed storm gate. The storm gate was funded, made and installed by Seaford Rotary at the top of The Causeway, which was introduced to ensure that visitors with mobility issues, wheelchair or pram users, have an additional access point to the promenade in winter but one that can be closed when a storm warning is announced, preventing shingle and sea water flowing on to the road.

A group photo at the opening of the Gateway project

It can’t be said that the unpredictability of this summer’s weather did not bring about some concerns for the opening event but the sun got its hat on and helped celebrate the introduction of such a beneficial and unique project to the town. The Mayor was thrilled to be a part of the ceremony and walk the gateway path in to the town centre. Alongside the Mayor was Councillor Jean Cash (Deputy Mayor of Seaford), Erin Frankllin (Deputy Young Mayor of Seaford), District Councillor Christine Brett (Chair of Lewes District Council), Keith Blackburn (Chair of the Seaford Community Partnership and event organiser), Gerri Ori (representing Impact Seaford and the Seaford Chamber of Commerce), Ann Reed (Vice President of Seaford Rotary and also the Mayoress), Peter White (Town Crier of Seaford), Town Councillors and other supporters and volunteers kind enough to help mark the event with their presence.

Speaking about the project, Keith Blackburn said: ‘It has been great to be able to help our excellent local businesses. In addition to the active involvement of the Partnership, Seaford Town Council, and Seaford Rotary, it has been necessary to obtain the agreement of the Environment Agency and East Sussex County Council who have the safety of the public very much in mind. The project has shown, once again, what can be achieved by volunteers working in partnership with the authorities.’The Mayor and Chair of Seaford Community Partnership at the opening of the Gateway

Speaking about the official opening, Councillor Rodney Reed, Mayor of Seaford, said: ‘To borrow from a well-known phrase; this is one small stroll for visitors and one giant boost for our shops! I was honoured to be asked to be a part of opening the gateway and would encourage everyone visiting the seafront to help this wonderfully unique project to fulfil its purpose by walking in to the town centre, patronising our local businesses and enjoying everything Seaford has to offer.’

Notes to editors:

The project is receiving up to £4,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

Images above and attached copyright of Keith Ross (Publicity Officer, Seaford Rotary)