A high level report into the future of seaside towns today (Thursday) urges the Government to focus on fixing Blackpool’s problems and help all coastal resorts as a consequence.
The House of Lords investigation also recommends Blackpool is given a town deal to help tackle a raft of problems including poor quality housing, low paid jobs, lack of digital connectivity and weak transport links.
The report says “by solving the problems in Blackpool, the Government could identify a set of tools which enable them to tackle the problem in other seaside towns.”
It adds “if you can solve it there you can solve it anywhere.”
Better access to further and higher education for young people in seaside towns is needed, including free transport for over-16s in education.
More must also be done to attract teachers to work on the coast.
These are among the key conclusions of the report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns, The future of seaside towns, published today.
The town deal is a £1.6bn fund to help less prosperous areas by creating jobs, training opportunities and boosting investment.
Towards the end of last year, Blackpool’s Pride Of Place partnership developed a town prospectus to develop the economy and tackle deprivation.Members of the partnership welcomed the report.
Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council, said:
“We know from experience that with the right sort of interventions, we can create a vibrant destination that has a thriving retail, leisure and accommodation offer, complemented by better housing, sustainable employment and a tangible sense of civic pride.”
Measures set out in the report including setting up tourism action zones, considering cutting VAT on tourism-related products, prioritising improvements to the coastal transport network and improving digital connectivity.
As part of the investigation, a panel spent two days visiting Blackpool and Fleetwood which included meetings with council leaders.
Rt Hon Lord Tom Mcnally of Blackpool, who was a member of the select committee, said:
“The lords undertook a very thorough investigation and analysis of the situation in some of Britain’s seaside resorts.
“In Blackpool they were particularly impressed by the leadership and the commitment from across all sectors in the town to solve its issues, build on its successes and secure its future.”
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’.”
He said a single solution did not exist, but “what is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together”.
Lord Bassam added: “The committee is confident that if our recommendations are pursued seaside towns can once again become prosperous and desirable places to live in and visit.”