Bournemouth beach

Lords recommend seaside town reinvention

The House of Lords’ Regenerating Seaside Towns Committee also recommends better access to further and higher education for young people.

Bournemouth is highlighted as an example of a seaside town that can “successfully reinvent itself.

With “a university, a glorious seafront, a booming conference trade and spin-offs from the academic world,” the Dorset town is described as “a very pleasant place to live and visit.”

Deep rooted issues

The Chairman of the Committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton, thinks seaside towns are too often neglected and are disadvantaged by their location at the ‘end of the line’.

“They suffer from issues rooted in the decline of their core industries,” he says, “most notably domestic tourism, but also in fishing, shipbuilding and port activity.”

He notes the possible consequences leaving the EU may have, saying: “The potential impact of Brexit on these towns particularly the hospitality sector, also remains an open question.”

A place to live

The House of Lords reported that issues relating to housing “emerged a one of the most prominent concerns voiced by coastal towns.”

The problem of poor housing can make the area less attractive for redevelopment and a vulnerable population can place additional pressure on local services.

Slow but steady regeneration

Lord Bassam said these difficulties cannot be solved overnight.

“A single solution to their economic and social challenges doesn’t exist,” he said. “What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together.”

The Committee say the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU funding after Brexit, may be an opportunity to help combat deprivation in coastal communities.

It also recommends the Government prioritises improvements to coastal transport networks, encourages partnerships between isolated areas and higher education sectors, and supports digital connectivity in seaside towns.

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