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Seaside towns need to be urgently reinvented, report warns

Action is needed to allow seaside towns to once again prosper, peers said. Credit: PA

Seaside towns need to be reinvented to attract tourists and residents and become desirable places to live and visit, a parliament report has said.

The report called on improvements to education, housing and transport links, so seaside towns can "reinvent themselves with a long-term, place-based vision."

In the Future of Seaside Town report, peers said poor transport links to seaside towns are "severely hindering" opportunities to improve tourism and attract funding.

They warned young people are at a disadvantage because of their limited access to education, especially post 16-education.

The peers said places like Brighton have shown it is possible to reinvent coastal resorts Credit: PA

The report called on the government to improve digital connectivity, most notably high-speed broadband, saying doing so would provide an opportunity to "overcome the challenges of peripherality in coastal areas."

Coastal towns which emerged as leisure and pleasure resorts in the 19th century have been neglected for “too long”.

The House of Lords select committee said these places should once again be “celebrated as places that can provide attractive environments for residents and visitors."

The peers also called for ministers to set out how coastal areas will benefit from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU funding after Brexit, and to increase resources for the Coastal Communities Fund.

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Places like Brighton and Bournemouth have shown that the seaside can successfully reinvent itself.

Lord Bassam of Brighton said: “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."

He 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.”

The report states seaside towns have been neglected for too long. Credit: PA

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Government is determined to ensure our economy works for everyone and every place.

“We are on track to invest £200 million in the Great British Coast by 2020 and recently announced a £36 million package of support to projects in coastal communities through our Coastal Communities Fund and Coastal Revival Fund.

"We have also made a commitment to support towns to harness their unique strengths to grow and prosper through the £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund.

“We recognise the challenges facing our seaside towns and will carefully consider the committee’s recommendations to build on the significant steps we have already taken to help coastal communities thrive.”