The Future of Seaside Towns. A House of Lords Select Committee Report on Regenerating Seaside Town and Communities. 04.04.19.
Our seaside towns have been neglected for too long says Chair of the Select Committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton. With all the development going on in our Town, such as the Theatres and the Beacon, you may wonder where that neglect is. But those living in the ‘left behind’ areas such as Hampden Park and Langney and Devonshire would be able to fill you in. They are on the receiving end.
The report states that seaside towns like Eastbourne have been suffering decline since the 1960s. There is poor transport infrastructure, poor educational achievement, poor quality housing and a large, insecure private rented sector, low skill levels, and a lack of employment opportunities. All problems common to many seaside towns. Substantial long-term planned investment is needed to tackle social and economic deprivation.
The current reliance on short term ,uncoordinated, disconnected projects and initiatives falls short of what is required for a revival of seaside towns. Currently towns can bid into for one-off regeneration projects like the Coastal Communities Fund, or EU funded schemes or Lottery funded schemes such as the £1 million grant funded Devonshire West Big Local (a resident run community group investing in our local community).
A key recommendation, in the report, for seaside town regeneration is to put an end to this ‘hit and miss’, piecemeal approach. It needs to be replaced with a coordinated planning and funding strategy with national and local government working together. For this to work, of course, we need a government that commits to taking it forward. The National Labour Party are already doing the legwork for change. They are meeting with communities to outline what are the problems and what are the solutions. As part of his economics for the people tour of Britain, John McDonnell (Shadow Labour Party Chancellor) met last year with local businesses and people of Hastings. During a very well attended workshop consultation they discussed how to develop Labour’s national policy for seaside towns and to create a strategy for long-term investment in Hastings. Labour in government are prepared. They would set to work straight away to stop the decline seaside towns like Eastbourne.
And locally, Labour Party activists are keen to set to work on making local improvements. We have been listening to what you have to say and hearing from you what needs to happen in your areas:- More for the youth to do. Safer communities. Tackle street drug dealing. More places for the smaller children to play safely. Tackle rogue landlords, rough sleeping and homelessness. Air pollution. Litter and dog fouling. Reinvigorate the high streets. Local produce and local craft markets. Tackle low pay and poverty. We can make a difference if we work together as a community. Eastbourne Labour Party is committed to being there and doing what it takes to help bring about better futures for our seaside town and for the communities within. We are committed to ensuring no parts of our town are left behind.