The Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub
Published on Thursday, 31st May 2018
On Friday 25th May an event was held to open the Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub and celebrate all that has been achieved through the Council’s Dengie Gateway Project.
The Dengie Gateway Project was born three years ago with an aspirational objective to promote the Maldon District as a first class tourism destination and to connect the excellent attractions of the area with the stunning natural environment. The project was funded as part of DCLG’s Coastal Community Fund round 3 and the Magnox Socio-economic Scheme. Through a range of marketing, virtual and real world interventions, the project has promoted the District by capitalising on the distinct and varied assets of the area.
The Dengie Gateway Project has delivered a number of elements, including, a 5 year District Tourism Marketing Strategy, the new Visit Maldon District website, eshop and improved social media presence. The Project delivered the Sense of Place District Branding, an instantly recognisable look for Maldon District, celebrating this special place with its unique story. The project developed the unique Saltmarsh75, a two day Ultra Marathon, where competitors tackle 75 miles of some of England’s most unique coast line; The Saltmarsh Coast.
Finally the Project sought to promote the District’s wonderful Saltmarsh Coast through the installation of new signage and way-marking, dedicated webpages and the creation of a network of inspiring and bespoke Saltmarsh Coast Visitor Information Hubs, with the Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub in the centre.
The locations of the Saltmarsh Coast Hubs were chosen to utilise public amenities and attractions as well as providing the perfect starting point to explore the coast. The project built on the work being undertaken by Natural England and the creation of the England Coast Path as well as the areas connection to RSPB’s Wild Coast Project on Wallasea Island. Each hub consists of a bespoke information panel, audio post and a visitor counter.
The hubs were also supported by bespoke waymarking, finger posts and signage connecting the coast to our historic and maritime towns and villages.
Richard Holmes, Director of Customers & Community thanked the project team and the many other Council staff who have been involved along the way. He also recognised the hard work and knowledge of local people, groups and organisations, as well as the skill and flexibility of all the businesses, contractors and suppliers who have enabled us to achieve more than we could have hoped. Mr Holmes said “The project now has an ongoing legacy, an exciting brand, solid online presence and quality public realm and signage that can form the template for the whole District.
Cllr Penny Channer Chairman of Planning and Licensing said “We are very proud of the work achieved through the Dengie Gateway Project. Tourism is a key driver for our local economy and the Council is working to create opportunities for further growth and prosperity. Projects such as the Dengie Gateway Project seek to capitalise on the District assets, while promoting coastal access and healthy living. As most visitors will research their destination online before they visit, this project has provided visitors with a useful and stunning gateway to start their journey with VisitMaldonDistrict.co.uk, and once they arrive the inspiring visitor hubs continue that journey with the same sense of quality and authenticity. Additionally the Sense of Place project enables all Maldon District businesses and attractions to show that they are part of that offer and celebrate their part of this special place.”
Cllr Henry Bass Chairman of Maldon District Council said “Maldon District is a great place to visit; we want the Maldon District to stand out from the crowd, with its fantastic mix of heritage, wildlife, independent shopping and coastal connections. Our District Branding allows all local businesses, attractions and groups to be part of promoting and celebrating this fantastic place. The reason we are here today is to launch The Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub and viewing platform. This steel framed bespoke structure is clad in wood to sit naturally into the park, providing shelter and adding to the fantastic range of attractions in Promenade Park. Its location was specifically chosen to look out from the park to lesser discovered areas, linking these to the offer made by a ‘Visit to Prom Park’.”
The Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub has been designed to inspire visitors to explore more of our stunning coast line; It will inspire visitors to return to discover other parts of the District, including the other Saltmarsh Coast Hubs, at Tollesbury, Heybridge Basin, Bradwell-on-Sea and Burnham-on-Crouch.
The hub will help visitors and residents discover our fascinating past, from Viking invasion and the Battle of Maldon, to the development of Maldon as a market town with its coastal economy. Also its modern coastal connections, with salt making, oyster fishing and home of the famous Thames Sailing Barges.
And it will educate visitors about the future, the importance of the area for wildlife, and how wind and tide changes the coast over time.