Seaside towns must reinvent themselves, says Lords report
The House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns have published a report calling for improvements to be made to transport, housing and broadband in the UK’s seaside towns.
Describing these areas as “neglected”, the report also stated that better access to further and higher education was also needed.
One of the key issues highlighted by the report was the isolation and peripherality of many seaside areas.
To combat this, the report called for “improved digital connectivity.” Beyond this, and perhaps a potential cause of this isolation, is the lack of access to education, particularly higher education.
The report stated that this can lead to “curtailing opportunities and denting aspirations for young people” in coastal areas.
In order to improve the economic performance and prosperity of these areas, the report called for “Local Industrial Strategies” to be produced which would focus on skills gaps and low-wage jobs.
As an alternative possibility, the committee recommended the establishment of Enterprise Zones which could offer these towns “placed-based interventions.”
The report specifically highlighted the Grimsby town deal which was supported by a partnership between local and central government. They argued that this type of proposal should be rolled out to other areas, recommending that this process began in Blackpool.
The Chariman of the Committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton, commented that: “For too long, seaside towns have been neglected. They suffer from issues rooted in the decline of their core industries, most notably domestic tourism, but also in fishing, shipbuilding and port activity, and from their location at the ‘end of the line’.
"What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues such as transport, housing, post-school education and high-speed broadband.
“Places like Brighton and Bournemouth have shown that ‘the seaside’ can successfully reinvent itself."