VIDEO: Hear what a Lords committee says on Regenerating Seaside Towns after visit to Skegness

Members of the  House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities visiting Skegness in October.
Members of the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities visiting Skegness in October.

A masterplan to address challenges facing Skegness such as seasonality and the need to increase skilled employment has been highlighted following a report released today on Regenerating Seaside Resorts.

East Lindsey District Council hosted a visit from six members of the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities in October.

The cross-party peers were conducting an inquiry into the complex challenges faced by seaside towns and communities and requested a visit to Skegness as part of their evidence gathering.

The visit provided an opportunity for the council and partners to discuss a range of projects including the emerging Skegness Foreshore Masterplan, the Destination Business Improvement District and the North Sea Observatory and Gibraltar Point. In addition, the party visited Butlins,

In the Lords report released today, it states seaside towns must be inspired to reinvent themselves.

It says many seaside towns and coastal communities are in desperate need of improvements to transport, housing and broadband. Better access to further and higher education for young people in seaside towns is needed too.

Chairman of the Committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton, said: “For too long, seaside towns have been neglected. They suffer from issues rooted in the decline of their core industries, most notably domestic tourism, but also in fishing, shipbuilding and port activity, and from their location at the ‘end of the line’. The potential impact of Brexit on these towns, particularly the hospitality sector, also remains an open question.

“A single solution to their economic and social challenges doesn’t exist. What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues such as transport, housing, post-school education and high-speed broadband."

Responding to the report, Neil Cucksey, Property, Business and Growth Assistant Director for East Lindsey District Council, said; “We clearly recognise that there are challenges for seaside towns throughout the country, and seasonality is just one of them. Whilst there is year round employment on our coast, we recognise the need to increase skilled employment and skills development in our area and help our local communities to address the decline in local services, such as healthcare and banking. We also recognise that our coastal towns and environment need further investment and protection from flood risk, so that residents and visitors can take advantage of new business and leisure opportunities along the coast.

"In recent years our coastal towns have seen a blend of both National and local investment helping towards significant growth, much of this facilitated by District Council.

"In Skegness, the Council has adopted the Foreshore Master Plan, identifying key projects for growth and investment and secured some initial funding to enhance public open spaces along Tower Esplanade and to renovate the Rockery Gardens. Multi-national firm Whitbread are opening a new Premier Inn imminently, a new purpose built marine observatory opened in July 2018 at Chapel St Leonards and a new £1million visitor centre at Gibraltar Point also opened in May 2016. In Mablethorpe, a £5m allocation has recently been secured for the Council and Magna Vitae to improve leisure facilities in the town, and the Council has recently submitted a bid for additional town centre investment for Mablethorpe under the Governments’ Future High Streets Fund.

"This new investment is bringing about a greater confidence in the economy and employment in the area. The latest report shows that the visitor economy in East Lindsey already brings in over £650m to the local economy - an increase of £50m (11%) between 2016 and 2017, with visitor numbers up by 3.6% and day visitors up by 6.2% across the same period. The industry has also seen a rise in total employment of over 300 in 2017 compared to 2016 (8,198). We therefore welcome the Report of the Select Committee and hope that it will help to raise the profile and importance of the need for continued investment and regeneration support for our coastal towns within Whitehall.”