Drought threatens visitor economy

THE HOSEPIPE ban imposed after months of record-breaking drought has threatened jobs, the economy and improvements made to Skegness Foreshore, a local authority has warned.

East Lindsey District Council fears that without an exemption from Anglian Water’s hosepipe ban, many of the aesthetic benefits provided through its £600,000 Foreshore improvement works will be negated as new planting schemes intended to present an eye-catching attraction for holidaymakers could be decimated without water to assist them through the tricky bedding in phase.

With these works intended to benefit Skegness’s visitor economy and jobs market, ELDC has called on Anglian Water to ‘cut it some slack’ and offer it an exemption from the ban.

Communications team leader James Gilbert said: “We’ve invested £600,000 to make the resort look fantastic for residents and visitors and part of that was a planting scheme with new flowers and beds.

“We’ve chosen more sustainable species and have mulched them in to give them a good chance, but they really need watering during this bedding in phase.

“What we’re saying to Anglian Water is ‘come on guys cut us a little slack’ this is about the economy, this is about jobs and businesses - we are already doing what we can to conserve water - now we need your support to protect the economy.”

Mr Gilbert has expressed the council’s ‘wholehearted support’ for water conserving measures during these difficult times but doubts the efficacy of the ban in these circumstances.

He believes the maintenance team could use more water attempting to perform the task with only watering cans than they would do if granted permission to fill a bowser from the mains. With the team’s resources already stretched throughout the holiday season, Mr Gilbert fears these restrictions will add ‘considerable pressure’ when they need it the least.

A spokesperson for Anglian Water explained that the hosepipe ban had not been introduced lightly but was necessary to mitigate against months of dry weather.

He said: “People need to remember why there’s a hosepipe ban in place - there’s a lack of water in the environment and we are trying to conserve what we still have.

“This is a reflection of how serious the problem it is, we know it’s not going to be popular and it may cause difficulties for some people which we genuinely regret.”