We’ve got the key – now let’s open the door! That was the clear message from Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Cabinet in response to receiving special Government recognition.

Although the final details of exactly what it means to secure Assisted Area Status (AAS) will not become clear until later this summer, it is a massive boost for Tendring.

Officers at TDC will now be working hard behind the scenes to establish what opportunities will be open to businesses and how they can go about cashing in.

The Council will put together a pack to explain to firms how they can benefit and what they need to do – as well as what it means for investors.

Mick Page, Leader of TDC, said: “We have worked very hard to achieve this status having missed out in the past. Now we have it we have got to use it and make the very most of the opportunities open to us.”

Chief Executive Ian Davidson said there was likely to be a pot of European funding of around £165 million for those with AAS in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to tap into if they could come up with the right schemes.

“You can only open the door if you have the key – and we have now got hold of it,” he added.

“We will hear more from the European Commissioners in July and once we have that information we will be able to give our businesses a clearer picture of what AAS means for us.”

Carlo Guglielmi, Cabinet Member for Planning and Corporate Services, said it is vital the Council translates the information into clear terms so firms and businesses fully appreciate how they can take advantage.

And Paul Honeywood, Cabinet Member for Housing Benefits and Revenues, added that it may not have been a bad thing to have missed out when the initial decision as to who should be granted Assisted Area Status was announced.

“It has been an uphill struggle to get there but we now have more areas of the District included in the map than we would have had before,” he said.

“Before we were going for Harwich but now parts of Clacton, Brightlingsea and others are also in there.”

The map for AAS also incorporates St Osyth, Weeley, Tendring village, Little Bentley, Mistley, Little Oakley, Parkeston, and Manningtree.

Alan Goggin, Cabinet Member for Finance, said it would be easy just to say that all these towns and villages were in serious need of help.

However, the more important thing to emphasise is that it has been recognised that there are opportunities available to turn things around and that is part of the designation.

“It means Tendring is a can do Council and a can do area – it is not just about need but about opportunity,” he added.

Nick Turner, Deputy Leader of TDC, said the main message is that Tendring is now in a better position than it has been for many years.

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