Representatives from businesses, councils and community groups gathered today to hear about a strategy to rejuvenate tourism on the Manhood Peninsula.
The destination management plan for 2018-2023 is out for consultation with residents and companies invited to have their say on what the peninsula needs.
After decades of work and research by the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, Selsey Town Council and various other community groups, the plan has given fresh hope of gaining funding for improvements in the area.
Jorge Gutic, senior lecturer in tourism management at Chichester University business school, presented the plan, which looks at transport issues, promoting businesses and visitor experience.
He said: “I think people are quite receptive to the idea, they are realistic of the challenges and I think that’s a good start because if people realise the plans are not going to happen by magic then we’re on a winning streak.”
“I think it’s also good that people have been able to point out, not weaknesses, but areas which I need to emphasise more and we’re definitely going to do that.
“Perhaps the most valuable thing on the day is people realising that there needs to be a central voice.”
He told the meeting the university could do the planning and supporting bids for European Union funding, but the ‘driving force’ needed to come from people ‘on the ground’.
In a question and answer session, attendees asked about cycle routes and existing work to create green links, particularly a route between Selsey and Chichester.
Some were concerned that the plan, supported by Visit Chichester and Chichester District Council, needed to be lead to specific projects in strategic planning documents to be effective.
Krissy Rodgers, from SEAL pub in Selsey, said businesses would most likely be interested in the later stages of the project, but progress was being made.
She said: “In the summer it’s buzzing, in the winter it’s quieter. Something like this, that could perhaps keep business in town all year round, is absolutely fantastic.
“A lot of our business is corporate rather than people just coming to see the seaside.”
Chairman of Selsey Town Council Mike Beal said the plan wasn’t the solution, but an elephant to be eaten ‘one mouthful at a time’.
“It’s up to the people of the Manhood Peninsula as to whether it sits in dust or it goes forward,” he said.
“If we take this elephant and all work together, it’s a jiggle.”
To view and comment on the Manhood Peninsula Destination Management Plan, visit dmpfeedback.co.uk