THE race is on against a tight deadline to try and win £1 million in Government cash to transform Ilfracombe's seafront. A newly formed steering group is seeking to scoop the regeneration money from the Sea Change initiative before the bidding closes in J

THE race is on against a tight deadline to try and win £1 million in Government cash to transform Ilfracombe's seafront.A newly formed steering group is seeking to scoop the regeneration money from the Sea Change initiative before the bidding closes in June this year.The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is offering the money to kick-start local regeneration in seaside towns, with the focus on cultural projects and public spaces.A number of ideas for Ilfracombe seafront followed a public "brainstorming session" last year but now the Government has brought the closing date for bids - originally January 2010 - much closer.It means speed is now essential for the new steering group. Ilfracombe Town Councillor John Swan has been elected as chairman, while its ranks are drawn from local district councillors, business owners and representatives from Ilfracombe Museum and North Devon Theatres amongst others.No detailed plans for the seafront area from the Landmark to St James Place have been announced as yet, but ideas include development of the museum, a Victorian visitor centre and a cliff-side restaurant."We are keen to see local people involved in the process, and to that end the steering group will meet regularly and ensure ongoing consultation," said Cllr Swan."The process has accelerated but that's not necessarily a bad thing - after all, we'll see results quicker and the public will see things moving at last. "Ilfracombe has waited long enough and deserves this excellent opportunity to regenerate and revitalise its seafront."There is already £80,000 in the pot, following an earlier £30,000 Sea Change grant, plus £25,000 from the South West RDA, £10,000 each from the district and county councils and £5,000 from Transform.A round of public consultation is expected once detailed pans are unveiled.