Leading county councillor claims coastal economy is ‘at junction’

Conservative Coun Colin Davie, Ingoldmells Rural.
Conservative Coun Colin Davie, Ingoldmells Rural.

Business leaders along the coast have been urged to take decisive action to secure the region’s future prosperity.

Lincolnshire County Council’s recently appointed executive member for the economy Coun Colin Davie believes great opportunities lay ahead - but only if businesses seize their chance.

“I believe that the coast has reached a junction,” he said.

“It either moves forward to the brave new world and develops its tourism industry into a global leader, or it trundles along into a period of gentle decline - and I’m not prepared to see that happen.”

While keen to see the county council help businesses make the most of their opportunities, Coun Davie is insistent that the business community must take the lead.

“Those who have been elected have a huge role to play in supporting their community to addressing the problems they face in what are still very difficult times.

“But there’s still a perception that the state will look after every aspect of our lives - that’s not going to be possible with the budgets which local authorities have to play with.

“People need to be more active participants in the process.”

Coun Richard Davies, a fellow executive member on the Conservative led county council, is also a strong advocate of the public sector’s role to support rather than a lead.

“The free market delivers much better tan state control,” he said.

Coun Davie believes the business community must decide what the ‘big idea’ is for the coast to help develop its tourism economy from a £450 million economy into one that’s worth £1 billion.

With its enviable coastline and wide open skies, Coun Davie is confident the resources are there to achieve this vital progression.

But with the growing availability of cheap flights to the continent and the increasingly elderly nature of East Lindsey’s traditional visitor demographic - Coun Davie is adamant that tourism leaders must expand the offer.

“The thing that people are missing is that the traditional visitors who come back year and year are growing old and less able to travel so regularly,” he said.

“And their kids are going to the airport and jumping on a cheap flight to Alicante where the weather is hot and the sun will shine.”

Highlighting initiatives such as the Coastal Country Park, Coun Davie hopes the green tourism industry can attract a more affluent type of visitor.

“I believe there are enormous opportunities if we are prepared to work together and grasp what’s out there,” he said.

What do you think the coastal economy needs to move forward? Email your suggestions to andrew.hirst@jpress.co.uk