A new masterplan for Cleethorpes is being drawn up for the resort to become the go-to destination for a staycation break all year round.
The blueprint will set out a vision for the town’s ever-growing tourism sector over the next decade to help guide investment and development.
It will aim to increase footfall and overnight stays from tourists who traditionally visit Cleethorpes for just the day.
A report by North East Lincolnshire Council says ‘the time is right for a masterplan’ which will set out to how to create sustainable jobs and make the town more appealing over the next 10 years.
The council report suggests itineraries of the resort’s activities could be created to entice ‘staycationers’ back for longer holidays.
Visitors from across the country or abroad could be attracted to North East Lincolnshire through coach and tour operators.
Park and ride facilities would also help to alleviate problems with congestion into the town.
The report also highlights some of the challenges that Cleethorpes will need to overcome, such as the perception it is ‘closed’ outside of the summer months.
Local business owners have welcomed the chance to level the town up, with the plan expected to be completed in the next financial year.
Nathan Taylor, the owner of Cleethorpes Taphouse and Paddling Pool, said this was an opportunity to modernise the town.
“We’re a very traditional resort, and sometimes we can lean too much on nostalgia. It would be great to see more investment and deliver what people expect from a seaside town today,” he said.
“Skegness was looking at a zipwire or GoApe experience along the seafront. Something like that would be fantastic for drawing families to Cleethorpes, and they can still get their fish and chips and put two pences in arcade machines afterwards.
“We could also make more use of Meridian Point out of season. People will travel for events like winter pantomimes, Total Wipeout courses and drive-thru or outdoor cinemas – I know as I’ve done it myself.
“It’s a given that Cleethorpes is going to be busy in the summer. If we can increase interest over the winter, it would make a real different to people’s property prices and jobs.”
Kim Wood, the owner of Ginnie’s Guesthouse, said there were no shortage of holidaymakers, but they had some complaints with the town.
She said: “We already see a lot of people wanting to stay in Cleethorpes all year round – we tend to be busy right up until the week before Christmas and into January.
“Since reopening in May, I have been working seven days a week to keep up with demand.
“The lack of toilets and parking in Cleethorpes are the main complaints I hear from guests. They would make a big difference.
“One of the big limiting factors on more people staying here is lack of accommodation. If you have three or more children, then your options are limited.
“It also seems that restaurants are shutting very early on Sunday and Monday evenings now, so if you want to eat after 5pm then your only options are Wetherspoons or a curry. This may be due to staff shortages because of Covid, but visitors would really like more late-night options.”
Local residents and business owners will be consulted as the masterplan is developed.
The blueprint could help to direct government Levelling Up Funding in the future.
The council report states: “A Cleethorpes masterplan will help to set out a clear vision for the future development and regeneration of the resort and main town centre area over the next 10 years.
“It will reflect Cleethorpes’ ambition to develop and grow the tourism offer including increasing footfall, creating sustainable jobs, creating a green economy and environment which maximises low carbon and healthy initiatives in our place, improving infrastructure and encouraging more overnight stays.
“Priority projects will be identified, and business cases developed for future funding opportunities.”
It comes as Cleethorpes looks to bounce back from a difficult year caused by the pandemic.
In 2019, 10.3 million people visited Cleethorpes, creating a visitor economy worth £642million.
625,000 people stayed for holidays or short breaks.
However, last year the number of visitors halved to 4.7 million, hurting businesses which rely on them.