Coastal tourism report

“Setting a New Vision for English Seaside Towns

Coastal destinations and tourism businesses are calling for a sea-change – they want a stronger voice, to work more collaboratively, to draw attention to the coast’s valuable assets and, crucially, to alter perceptions among the public and the media of what there is to see and do on the coast.

Their views, along with findings from new and existing research, have been brought together to create the first Vision, Strategy and Action Plan for the development of tourism on the coast, coordinated by the National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA). Read the complete Vision here.

Last year, coastal tourism regained its position as the largest domestic overnight holiday sector, worth more than £8bn. And coastal tourism is a significant employer estimated to be worth £3.6bn, similar in size to the telecoms sector, but the coast has significant unrealised potential and faces stiff competition from city and rural breaks.

“Coastal communities face a number of unique challenges and to date they have not been given the attention and recognition they deserve,” says Samantha Richardson, NCTA director.

“By working together and with a concerted effort to raise awareness of the fascinating tourism product the English coast can offer, we believe economic growth on the coast – jobs and long term sustainable employment – can be achieved.

“Coastal tourism is a mixed picture across the country, with some coastal destinations thriving while others are achieving below average growth for tourism.

“The NCTA has spent three years examining the challenges on the coast – skills gaps, staff shortages, the problem of seasonality, public transport – as well as researching opportunities to develop tourism off-peak and we’ve identified key areas for growth that would work for the coast.

“But the time has come for a holistic approach and through this Vision coastal destinations can work together to tackle issues that affect all coastal communities and share learning of what works to benefit everyone.”

Last year the National Coastal Tourism Academy staged the first Coastal Tourism Forum where more than one hundred coastal destinations, tourism businesses and industry leaders discussed the need for a co-ordinated Vision and Action Plan. The new Vision is based on their recommendations and on the research of the NCTA, Bournemouth University, Sheffield Hallam University and others.

The Vision has four key objectives: to improve the visitor economy to support wider growth, to develop a quality experience with distinct activities, to foster greater collaborative working and to raise awareness of the coast’s offer.

The objectives are backed up by a robust action plan to be delivered by a working group comprising industry leaders, business owners and tourism experts.

The Vision is supported by a number of national tourism organisations, including the New Economics Foundation and the Seaside Heritage Network.

“We welcome and support the National Coastal Tourism Academy’s Vision and Action Plan for coastal tourism,” says Fernanda Balata, project lead for NEF’s Blue New Deal.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the NCTA and coastal communities to unleash the potential of the tourism sector to support more thriving coastal economies and a healthier marine environment. “

The Vision has also been endorsed by the Seaside Heritage Network’s Esther Graham: “The NCTA undertakes valuable research that supports all those working and promoting the coast.

“Seaside history and heritage is a vital element in the coastal offer and the Seaside Heritage Network looks forward to working with the NCTA and others in helping to shape a coordinated Vision for unlocking the unique potential of the coast, its landscape, communities and rich heritage”.”

Swire: still rearranging East Devon’s deckchairs on the Titanic

Written Answers – Ministry of Justice: Vehicle Number Plates: Prosecutions (13 Mar 2017)

Hugo Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions there have been in each of the last 10 years for improperly displayed vehicle number plates.

More money to be made from land than building houses

“Analysts at Liberum believe both Redrow and Galliford could both pay up a little more for Bovis, but added that they may choose not to as they “earn better returns from buying open market land” …

… The analysts pointed out: “Both Redrow and Galliford Try have cited economies of scale. Merging with Redrow would create a 9,000 unit a year builder, and with Galliford a 7,000 unit a year builder (ex regeneration), meaning that the enlarged entity would be the fourth or fifth biggest builder by volumes.”

However, they added: “The merger wave of the 2000s was driven in part because builders with more scale got better terms for materials, but we wonder if this is still true as manufacturers are more consolidated and tend to have limited spare capacity – making incremental volumes less valuable to them.”

Noughties gone …

Back in the noughties tight planning and excess competition meant that land was scarce and land price inflation was running much faster than house price inflation.

It made sense then to buy large chunks of land through acquisition rather than buy it expensively on the open market.

However, the Liberum analysts noted that the land market is now benign with Steve Morgan, the boss of Redrow “himself observing that the land market is now the best it has been in 40 years.”

Therefore, a fresh wave of consolidation in the sector would probably look to be unlikely, particularly given the uncertainties opened up for the housing market by last June’s Brexit vote, with the moves for Bovis a special case.”

“Big Society” a big failure says Parliamentary Committee: £1 billion plus wasted

Owl says: Vanity projects – imagine how much we could spend on necessities if they were all abandoned! Hinkley C, HS2, the Big Society, EDDC relocation, Exmouth “regeneration”, Devon and Somerset devolution …!

“A publicly funded £1bn “big society” project set up by former prime minister David Cameron to restore values of responsibility and discipline among young people has been criticised by MPs for lax spending controls and poor management.

The Commons public accounts committee (PAC) said the National Citizen Service (NCS) trust lacked appropriate governance arrangements, could not justify its high costs, and was unable to prove whether its courses had any long-term impact on youngsters.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said: “We urge the trust and central government to review fundamentally the way NCS is delivered and its benefits measured before more public money is committed in the programme’s next commissioning round.”

MPs said that the scheme – which has received £600m in government funding since 2011 and stands to get another £900m investment over the next two years – should be “fundamentally reviewed” by ministers.

Hillier said although there was some evidence the scheme had a short-term positive impact on participants this did not in itself justify the high level of public spending on the programme, nor demonstrate that it would deliver the proposed benefits.

The PAC report criticised the trust for refusing to disclose directors’ salaries, and accused it of a “lack of discipline” after failing to recover £10m paid to providers for unfilled places. It concluded that it was unclear whether the trust management had the necessary skills and experience to run the scheme. …”–commons-committee-cameron

“Ministers can no longer ignore protests over the school funding crisis”

” … The Institute for Fiscal Studies warns that by 2020 funding per pupil will have been cut in real terms by 6.5% for schools, and 16-18 education will be at a similar level in real terms to that 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, the costs of employing staff – usually something like 80% of the outgoings of a school or college – are growing because of increases in employer contributions to national insurance and pensions, plus pay increases for which there has been no additional funding from government.

The government is going to find that ignoring this issue is not going to make it go away as voices of protest become louder. Suddenly places that rarely made the headlines – east Cheshire, West Sussex – are in the news, with headteachers, governors and, increasingly, parents are all warning children’s education will be damaged unless funding is found.

The budget could have addressed the educational needs of the many over the few. Instead, what we got was an announcement about building new free schools at a time when schools are having to make £3bn of savings.

Cuts could mean schools close early two days a week, say teachers
There is already a need for some 284,000 new secondary places by 2020. It is therefore essential that any new schools are built in areas where places are needed, rather than creating deliberate surpluses, as has often been the case with free schools. Unless new schools directly help communities that lack school places, then parents and other taxpayers are going to see this as a shocking waste of public money. …

… As I know from my 15 years as a headteacher, always working with specialist business managers, saving, say, £150,000 in your budget in a year, cannot be achieved by deferring new textbooks or leaving the maths block unpainted.

Instead schools will have to increase class sizes in order to maximise the number of students being taught by the minimum number of teachers. They will limit courses at GCSE and sixth-form level to reduce the number of teachers needed. They will even have to contemplate cutting staff time for preparation, marking and planning.

Cuts, cuts, cuts. Headteachers tell of school system ‘that could implode’
This growing crisis comes on the watch of a prime minister and secretary of state for education who talk a lot about social mobility and have identified education as the engine room of national progress. Yet it is disadvantaged students and schools in fragile communities that are likely to be hardest hit by funding reductions that this budget has not addressed.

These are the schools where parent teacher associations are least likely to be able to contribute to funds, where budgets are already being disproportionately used to bring in expensive supply staff from agencies, where decisions not to upgrade facilities simply intensify the social gap between the haves and have-nots.

Many school leaders already serve as the social glue that helps hold together such communities. Now those leaders are saying that on behalf of the children, parents and governors more funding must be found – for all our schools, not just for pet projects.

This is a government that speaks loftily of social justice. In the budget it had one parliament-defining opportunity to put its money where its mouth is. Instead we witnessed the triumph of dogma over evidence.”

(Geoff Barton is headteacher of King Edward VI school, Bury St Edmunds. He was elected general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders in February 2017)

Health trusts and impossible performance targets

“The QC who carried out a review of failures at the Mid Staffs Hospital five years ago says that a similar collapse is ‘inevitable’ under current circumstances where some health trusts are accepting impossible performance targets.

In an interview with Shaun Lintern for the Health Service Journal, Robert Francis QC warned of a “a real danger of a relapse” unless the present NHS leadership continue to focus on the lessons learned in Staffordshire.

The QC described a repetition of the same problems as “inevitable” in cases where financial stress is combined with unrealistic targets. He said: “If you look at the number of trusts who are not only in deficit but won’t agree their control targets, the fact some are not agreeing their control targets is good because it means they are saying we can’t actually do that and carry on the service you want us to provide.

But there will be those that have said ‘yes’ when they actually can’t do it. Absolutely yes, that is a danger. …”

Information Commissioner v Exeter City Council re business case adjourned

This case has direct ramifications for Exmouth regeneration and Knowle relocation.

“… The lengthy hearing, held independently of the government at Exeter Magistrates’ Court from 10am, was attended by members of the public, city councillor’s and members of the council. It continued into the afternoon with closed sessions which discussed the information in question.

The Information Tribunal was adjourned pending further information to an, as yet, unspecified date after the Judge heard in-part from both sides.

The appellant, Exeter City Council, is battling against the Information Commissioner’s decision that it should publish the details for the business case for the £27 million leisure complex development on the site of the current Bus and Coach Station.

Joined Party, Exeter resident Peter Cleasby, had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the details last year, so it could be open to wider scrutiny before contracts were signed. The Council refused on grounds of commercial confidentiality, and Mr Cleasby complained about its refusal to the Information Commissioner.

The Commissioner ordered key information in the business case to be made public, but the council appealed against the Commissioner’s decision. Peter Cleasby added: “Wider scrutiny and challenge of the business case assumptions is vital.”

Before the hearing, a city council spokesman said: “The Council will make its case before the Tribunal. It would be inappropriate to comment further ahead of the hearing.” The council say they are unlikely to comment until a decision is made in the coming weeks.

The development of St Sidwell’s Point has been put on hold because the council has not appointed a contractor. An Extraordinary Meeting of the Council, to direct questions about the delay, will be held at Exeter Guildhall at 6pm on Tuesday. March 21 – after being called in by political opposition.”