Our seaside towns are worth saving

Letters to the Guardian www.theguardian.com 

Will Hutton is right to deplore the decline of coastal communities (“There is a way to save our coastal resorts… welcome to Zoomtown-on -Sea”, Comment).

Yes, our buildings are in dire need of renovation, but more crucially we need to retain skilled workers to ensure future prosperity. More equitable school funding might compensate for the years that the lion’s share has been gobbled up by inner cities. Well-resourced schools would attract and retain parents whose skills could increase local wealth and ensure students have the same career and educational prospects as in the suburbs.

The second-home market has been parasitical, creating silent communities for much of the year. Priced out of properties, condemned to extortionate rents, local workers have to make their living elsewhere. Our communities need affordable homes, not more executive homes to swell the profits of construction companies.

Yvonne Williams

Ryde, Isle of Wight

Will Hutton shines an overdue light on the desperate trouble our coastal towns are in. However, I’m not sure championing the exodus from metropolitan areas to the coast is the panacea for this.

The acceleration of this trend, partly fuelled by Covid, has become pronounced in the last six months. One damaging consequence is the rapid rise in rents and prices. The larger salaries and capital of incomers mean the housing crisis has worsened. The gap between average incomes and housing costs is growing rapidly and young people can no longer afford to live in the places they grew up in.

The crisis facing coastal towns requires the building of more affordable housing and a significant expansion in social housing. Addressing the appallingly low level of local wages must also be a priority. Unless this kind of overarching approach is taken, Zoomtown for some will mean Doomtown for others.

Roy Tomlinson

Velator, Braunton, Devon

Resorts can be sad, diminished towns, lacking their past coastal glories, but on a walk down our spacious and pleasant seafront, all I saw were happy families enjoying their staycations and queuing for a turn on our very own Great Yarmouth wheel. So, yes, there are inherent problems but, no, we will not let our truly golden sands disappear from under our feet for lack of striving for sustainable progress.

Judith A Daniels

Cobholm, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

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