Private developers have been deterred from investing around £12 million in Skegness due to the complex and restrictive regulations governing the town’s development, key figures have said.
Skegness town manager Stefan Krause fears planning systems and the multi-tiered structure of local government were hindering progress.
“Investors are coming forward with lots of viable proposals but then they quickly discover they have to go round and round in circles between all the relevant authorities to get anything done and that is putting them off,” he said.
Developers in Skegness are often required to deal with three tiers of local government and the Environment Agency to gain permission. Mr Krause fears this fragmented system is restricting investment and stifling the town’s economy.
He would like to see the creation of a ‘one stop shop’ operated by the Skegness Partnership providing investors with advice on how to overcome these obstacles.
The service would also be available to help prevent investors overlapping their projects. Currently there is no advice offered to prospective new businesses about whether similar proposal to theirs are already on the table.
He says this resulted in the baffling situation whereby 10 separate fish spa shops opened in Skegness within a short period of time, each competing with the other and eventually driving themselves out of business.
“We have a lot of entrepreneurs in town who come forward with good ideas but there there’s a lot of other people coming along with the same idea - this is why we should be offering guidance so that investors can choose appropriate projects,” he said.
Ivan Annibal, an expert in regeneration, made further calls for an organisation to ‘act as a glue and pull ideas together’ at a lecture on Skegness’s economy last Tuesday.
Mr Annibal felt that the current development framework, such as East Lindsey District Council’s Foreshore Masterplan, was too restrictive and off-putting to developers. He suggested that ‘investment-ready’ businesses should lead the way by saying what they’d be prepared to invest in and then seeking local authority support to overcome the planning bureaucracy standing in their way and seek grants at a national or European level.
“Then we can really make things happen in SKegness,” he said.