More funding is needed to improve Greater Lincolnshire’s deprived seaside towns after suffering from years of decline.
A House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns report out today (Thursday) says many coastal communities are “in desperate need of improvements” to transport, housing and broadband.
However, it also praised Grimsby’s Town Deal – a £67 million investment – and called for it to be rolled out to other areas.
Chairman of the Committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton, said: “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’.
“A single solution to their economic and social challenges doesn’t exist. 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.”
Council leaders said the report highlighted the need for fairer funding in coastal towns.
Justin Brown, from Lincolnshire County Council’s economic development team, acknowledged seaside resorts suffered from the lack of access to people and services.
He hoped the report would open up opportunities for extra cash, adding: “All these are opportunities but what we mustn’t get to is a situation where we’re having to bid, bid and bid again for the funding because actually the lords have recognised there’s a special case for coastal communities.”
He said priorities for the county council were focusing on improving broadband and technology access and housing.
As part of the report, the committee visited Skegness. They highlighted a number of issues including a lack of rail connections, employment and training opportunities, difficulty in recruiting healthcare staff, poor mental health, and reduced resources.
It makes specific praise of holiday company Butlins, but outlines issues with keeping young people in the area.
It also highlights work done on nearby flood defences, but criticises the difficulty in bringing new housing forward due to risks.
Neil Cucksey, property, business and growth assistant director for East Lindsey District Council, also called on the report to “help to raise the profile and importance of the need for continued investment and regeneration support for our coastal towns within Whitehall.”
“We clearly recognise that there are challenges for seaside towns throughout the country,” he said.
However, he added national and local investment had already been helping towards “significant growth” across the district.
These include the Skegness Foreshore Plan, improvements to a number of amenities, the opening of a new Premier Inn, a £5 million investment in Mablethorpe leisure facilities, the new North Sea Observatory and the Gibraltar Point visitor centre.
A spokesman for Associated British Ports, responding on behalf of partners in the Grimsby Town Deal said they were delighted to be recognised as “an excellent example”.
They said the deal “has the potential to change lives for the better in Grimsby, not just in the next few years but for generations to come.
“It is a project we at ABP are very proud to be involved in and we see it as a significant tool in unlocking economic growth and jobs for the area.”
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