Eastbourne ‘must reinvent itself’

Seaside towns – including Eastbourne – have been neglected and are in desperate need of improvements to transport, housing and broadband, according to a report by the House of Lords.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 11:28 am
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 11:32 am

The report on Regenerating Seaside Towns, published this week, also calls for better access to further and higher education for young people in coastal communities and says the seaside can successfully reinvent itself.

Chairman of the committee behind the report, 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. Places like Brighton and Bournemouth have shown ‘the seaside’ can successfully reinvent itself. 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.”

The committee is calling on the government, local enterprise partnerships, businesses and local authorities to work together for long term sustainable change.

The report also states that seaside towns possess unique assets, such as Eastbourne’s pier, which could be central to the town’s regeneration.

Fellow peer and Eastbourne resident Lord Lucas contributed to the report.

He said, “Funding needs connecting too. It is a strength that there are multiple sources of funding available for seaside communities, public and private; they bring different ideas, priorities and expertise. But they need to connect back into the hinterland of the donor and forward into the local placemaking plans, to ensure long-term viability and coherence. Funding streams also need to connect with themselves – evaluating each project, at completion, and a few years’ afterwards, publishing the results, and building our understanding of what works well.