House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities visits Skegness
October 10, 2018
The cross-party peers are conducting an inquiry into the complex challenges faced by seaside towns and communities and requested a visit to Skegness as part of their evidence gathering.
Members of the committee met with senior councillors and officers from the County, District and Town Councils as well as key partners from the public sector (including the Environment Agency) and representatives from the local business community. Their objective was to understand some of the challenges the area faces, including issues around coastal flooding, business and skills - as well as examining the effect of regeneration and the role of the visitor economy in generating change.
The visit provided an opportunity for the council and partners to discuss a range of projects including the emerging Skegness Foreshore Masterplan, the Destination Business Improvement District and the North Sea Observatory and Gibraltar Point.
In addition, the party visited Butlins, which showcased how sustained investment into the visitor product can positively impact upon the wider local economy. The day ended with an 'open-session' at the Vine Hotel in Skegness where the public had the opportunity to discuss issues relating to the challenges of living and working in a coastal community directly with the Select Committee. During the visit the Select Committee's Engagement Team undertook a consultation on Skegness' Foreshore with members of the public.
Lord Bassam of Brighton, Chairman of the Committee, said: "Skegness, as we saw today, has a rich heritage as a seaside destination.
"We visited the historic foreshore, the first ever Butlins resort, and the now iconic North Sea Observatory. We heard the views of a wide range of people, from civic leaders to local businesses and school children. They highlighted concerns about flood protection, poverty, housing, education, infrastructure and the seasonal economy.
"The visit has provided us with valuable insights into the challenges faced by Skegness and will play an important part in our inquiry."
Portfolio Holder for Coastal Economy at the District Council, Councillor Steve Kirk, said: "We were honoured to host today's visit by the House of Lord's Select Committee and I'd like to thank all of those organisations who supported the visit. The visit provided us with a rare opportunity to demonstrate the impact of the work we're already undertaking and the ongoing and sometimes acute challenges we face on our coastline."
Skegness Town Mayor, Councillor Sid Dennis, said: "We were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the Select Committee and provide an insight to some of the difficulties that a coastal community such as Skegness faces."