Millions of pounds more investment in Skegness - but can services cope?

MP Matt Warman (right) with Chris Baron, resort director of Butlins, sitting by the statue of Billy the Bear
MP Matt Warman (right) with Chris Baron, resort director of Butlins, sitting by the statue of Billy the Bear
  • Major investment at Butlins will be big boost to tourism
  • MP experiences travel woes
  • Transport on the coast high on agenda but no ‘quick fix’

Millions of pounds worth of investment at Butlins in Skegness, including a new £1.2m bar and grill, has been welcomed by MP Matt Warman.

Mr Warman was in the resort on Thursday in his new role as Parliamentary Private secretary to Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, as part of a number of visits to the area to explore the ‘opportunities and challenges’ along the coast.

He chose to travel by rail joining families heading for the seaside, but after being held up by a fault with the signalling system affecting level crossings between Boston and Skegness, he finished the journey by car, experiencing first-hand it is not always easy getting to the coast.

However, although infrastructure was high on the agenda for the MP and Butlins’ resort director Chris Baron, Mr Warman said there would be ‘no quick fix’ to reducing drive time for visitors.

He said: “It’s important in the next two years to look at the coastal highway and come up with a concrete plan when money becomes available for how the link between Nottingham and Skegness can be improved, and this could be dualling sections of the A15, A16 and A17.”

Following a tour of the resort, Mr Warman said he welcomed Butlins’ plans for a new 140-seat restaurant open by April next year, as part of a continued investment in the coast which over the winter will see £10million spent, including two new supermarkets and extensive refurbishment of the accommodation.

He said: “Skegness is a thriving resort whether we are looking at Butlins, the new Marston’s pub on the Aldi retail park, or the new Countryside Business Park and the Government wants to look at ways to help the resort grow.

“We already have small business rate relief and have given pubs an extra discount and we are looking towards giving local government the power to set its own business rate so it can reflect the community.

“But, there are challenges and we have to make sure that in tourism powered locations we move forward in a sustainable way.”

Mr Baron, who said Butlin’s continued to support the campaign to reduce VAT in the tourism industry and bring it line with Europe at 10 per cent, said the main issue facing investment among the coast was utilities.

He said: “We need to make sure there are enough utilities such as gas, electricity and sewage systems for the area. We have seen it be an issue in Ingoldmells with the plan for a £10million luxury holiday village in Ingoldmells and the Countryside Business Park, but this has been overcome.

“But, will it be when the next investor comes along?”