Do we really like to be beside the seaside?

It’s no secret that the British seaside towns up and down the country are struggling. Since the 1970s and the growth of commercial air travel foreign destinations such as Benidorm, Majorca and Alicante to name but a few started to become within the reach of not just the rich for the first time. This came at the detriment of Britain’s seaside towns which had acted as the go to holiday destinations for previous decades. Unable to match the cheap package holiday experience of their Mediterranean counterparts, once bustling towns such as Margate, Blackpool, Great Yarmouth and Torquay found themselves struggling to not only thrive, but even to survive.

There was little help to these towns from central government to arrest their decline. However, it seems as though things may finally be changing for the better.

A new report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities was released last week, providing detailed recommendations to the Government on how to kick start a new era of prosperity in Britain’s coastal towns. The report identifies that towns have been left alone too long to deal with the decline of key industries, mostly tourism but also including fishing, shipbuilding and port activity.

The full report, including the Committee’s recommendation can be found here.

Previous proposals to address the complex problems faced by Britain’s seaside towns have hit the rocks, and it will inevitably be a tough ask to reverse the issues caused by a sustained period of under investment.

What then are the key recommendations from the report that the government must implement to give our coastal communities a shot at prosperity in the future? There are four main areas that are focused on: economic well-being, education and skills, housing and the built environment, then funding and delivering regeneration.

To support the economic renewal and regeneration of coastal towns, the report recommends more intensive collaboration between national and local government to tailor support and investment packages to towns based on specific requirements. This could include new Enterprise Zones as well as incentives to attract further investment.

The report recognises that limited access to higher education in some coastal areas is curtailing opportunities for young people. Recommendations include a major marketing campaign to attract teachers to seaside towns, a targeted investment drive into primary and secondary schools, and support a drive to enhance the status and potential of a career in the hospitality industry.

To improve the quality of housing, government should consider piloting Housing Action Zones, a package of measures that could improve the standing of coastal areas, empower authorities in enforcing higher standards of housing, and support more effective regeneration.

For more information on specific points within the Select Committee’s report or how its recommendations may affect development in these areas please get in touch with MPC on 0117 428 6873, or via western@mpc.email, for further details.

Matthew Roberts - Account Executive

The YIMBYMPC