CHRISTCHURCH council is celebrating after winning nearly half-a-million pounds to improve coastal projects in the area.

It has been awarded £424,000 which will be used for four specific improvements as part of a wider project to connect people to the coast from Christchurch to Bere Regis.

Cycle access will be improved, the promenade at Avon Beach will be raised, the Highcliffe Castle zigzag will be improved and improvements will be made to the Christchurch Visitor Hub at Highcliffe.

The council worked in partnership with the Dorset Coastal Community Team to send a bid to the Coastal Community Fund last year.

The fund aims to connect people to the coast, connect coastal communities to each other and connect the Dorset coast to the ‘wider world’.

Gary Foyle, Community and Recreation Team Leader said: "We are thrilled that Christchurch coastline will now benefit from such substantial funding. The money will support key projects in both Highcliffe and Mudeford with a view to improving access."

He said a website, also funded by the Coastal Community Fund, is available for members of the public and added: "It has been really popular with residents and visitors to our coastline and we will continue to use this platform to hear views on both small and larger projects on our coast."

Go to to give your views.

The four projects are:

Christchurch Cycle Access - Promoting the existence of the 24 mile cycle network which will make it easier for residents and visitors to be connected to the coast.

Christchurch Public Realm Promenade Project - The promenade at Avon Beach will be raised, reducing the risk of storm damage to more than 70 timber beach huts, and provide an opportunity for Avon Beach Ltd to maximise the commercial potential of the site, providing a greater range of services to the community and ultimately creating new jobs for local people.

Highcliffe Castle zigzag - Replacement of the existing disabled ramp and associated soil retaining structures. The ramp is the only sloped access located between Highcliffe Cliffhanger and Friars Cliff and serves a vital function in making the coast accessible to all users.

Christchurch Coastal Access - Christchurch Visitor Hub is located at Highcliffe and the area is well-known for its fantastic view and access to the beach. It is an up and coming area for water recreation and there are several companies that operate from this location. Currently the area is run down. The funding will go towards regeneration and improving access in this area to benefit the community, visitor experience and the local businesses.