Seaside towns: “reinvent or die”

The report can be found here:
https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/regenerating-seaside-towns/news-parliament-2017/seaside-report-published/

ITV News summary:

“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 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.

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.
Lord Bassam of Brighton
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.”

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.”

https://www.itv.com/news/2019-04-04/action-urged-to-reinvent-struggling-seaside-towns/

Temporary Exmouth seafront attractions have already cost us £300,000

Owl says: imagine if other coastal towns in East Devon had this much spent on them …

“Under questioning from [Independent councillor Megan Armstrong at last week’s East Devon District Council meeting, Councillor Philip Skinner revealed that £285,305, was spent by the council for the first year of the new attractions in Queen’s Drive, Exmouth.

Cllr Skinner said that the costs included £155,000 on the new dinosaur-themed play park, as well as other costs on the beach bar seating area, the events stage and making the whole site safe.

He also said the council spent £22,850 putting on events such as free live screenings from the Royal Opera House.

Under questioning from councillor Megan Armstrong at last week’s East Devon District Council meeting, Councillor Philip Skinner revealed that £285,305, was spent by the council for the first year of the new attractions in Queen’s Drive, Exmouth.

Cllr Skinner said that the costs included £155,000 on the new dinosaur-themed play park, as well as other costs on the beach bar seating area, the events stage and making the whole site safe.

He also said the council spent £22,850 putting on events such as free live screenings from the Royal Opera House.

In response, Councillor Skinner said he didn’t expect to be facing criticism for investing money in Exmouth.

He said: “We are trying to get more people into the town, and to get them to spend more money there.

“It shouldn’t be a criticism that we are investing more in Exmouth and the town councillors should be chuffed to think we are investing in the town.

“We tried new things and people did like them.

“Some events didn’t go well, but others did.

“We made all of our revenue costs back and made a profit, and I expect to do so in future.

“We are continuing to invest in Exmouth’s seafront and have also been invited to a Stage 2 bid for Coastal Communities Fund that will further benefit the seafront.

“For 2019, our budget is £75,000, which includes staffing, event cost, equipment hire, maintenance, security and utility costs.

“We expect to secure income of between £30,000 and £40,000 this year, depending on sponsorship secured, and a further £12,000 for the big wheel.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/seafront-attractions-cost-1-5917372

“Regional” chain restaurant chosen as preferred bidder for Sidmouth Drill Hall

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/restaurant-bids-proposed-for-drill-hall-site-1-5906323

Mitch Tonks Rockfish?
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage?

Not allowed to know.

K’ching! 3 bids in for Sidmouth seafron Drill Hall

“East Devon District Council has received three ‘interesting and diverse’ bids for the site following the consultation period, which ended on Friday, February 4.

A core group made up of Sidmouth and East Devon town and district councillors are now considering the bids, working with property agent JLL which has managed the marketing.

A council spokesman said at the moment the details of the bids must remain confidential and recommendations will be made for East Devon District Council’s cabinet for approval at a later date. …”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/final-bids-to-be-considered-to-transform-sidmouth-drill-hall-1-5891620

“Sidmouth sea defences could cost double the £9m expected”

NOT unexpected to Owl! At the moment, decisions on whether to fund are done on a “cost per dwelling saved” and that factors in the value of the dwelling. As costs rise (and possibly house prices level out ot fall) and austerity continues, the less likely DEFRA is to fund projects.

“The current estimated cost of the project is around £9milion over its entire lifespan – around £5.7million is expected to be funded by central government, leaving a funding gap of around £3.3million.

At a recent steering group committee, additional offshore breakwaters were discussed and it was explained again that although the breakwaters may present a more robust solution technically, they would come at almost double the cost.

The cost has been re-examined recently by consultants Royal HaskoningDHV and they have confirmed that the previous costings as part of the Beach Management Plan were correct.

Royal HaskoningDHV also presented some of the more detailed outline design drawings they are now working on, which have been developed with the use of 3D models to help ensure that costs for the volumes of rock and shingle are estimated accurately.

Additional surveys are being carried out along the seafront to help inform the outline design of the splash wall.

The proposals also include improving maintenance access onto East Beach for future recycling and replenishment.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s thorough tests and methodical approach has resulted in a proposal to recharge the beach with a 10 metre flat section at the top, and a suggested increase in the height of the splash wall of up to 0.5 metres from its existing level, with sections of lower height where the beach is less exposed. …”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidmouth-sea-defences-could-cost-double-1-5875210

“Sixty-four-metre ‘fatberg’ discovered in English seaside resort” [Sidmouth]

[The article has a particularly gruesome picture of the fatberg!]

Owl wonders if this sort of thing will increase or decrease when the luxury PegasusLife elderly housing facility replaces EDDC’s Knowle HQ!

“Eight weeks needed to remove mass of fat, oil and wet-wipes from sewer in Sidmouth, Devon.

A block of hardened fat, oil and wet-wipes longer than six double-decker buses has been discovered in a sewer metres from the sea in a popular Devon resort town.

It will take workers eight weeks to cut up and remove the 64-metre “fatberg” from the sewer beneath The Esplanade in Sidmouth.

South West Water is also planning to open a pop-up shop in the town to inform people about the unwanted visitor and to urge them not to “feed” fatbergs by pouring fat, oil, grease and wet-pipes into the system.

The company’s director of wastewater, Andrew Roantree, said: “It shows how this key environmental issue is not just facing the UK’s cities, but right here in our coastal towns.

“It is the largest discovered in our service history and it will take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.

“Thankfully it has been identified in good time with no risk to bathing waters. If you keep just one new year’s resolution this year, let it be to not pour fats, oil or grease down the drain, or flush wet-wipes down the loo. Put your pipes on a diet and don’t feed the fatberg.”

South West Water says a fatberg forms like a snowball – wet-wipes flushed down toilets congeal with fats, oil and grease, gradually forming a hard mass. The removal, which will be carried out by workers in full breathing apparatus, is due to begin next month but could be delayed if there is heavy rain.

Nearby businesses will not be affected by the removal and The Esplanade will remain fully accessible.

The fatberg was discovered during routine checks.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/08/sixty-four-metre-fatberg-discovered-in-english-seaside-resort-sidmouth-devon

Exmouth – road to nowhere?

“Work is set to begin on phase one of the Exmouth seafront regeneration scheme this month after East Devon District Council (EDDC) cabinet gave its approval despite not having ‘legal commitment’ from Grenadier Estates for ‘phase two’.

The developer, which is planning to begin construction on a new watersports centre in spring 2019, says it is ‘committed and on schedule’.

Councillors at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday (October 31) were told there were ‘verbal assurances’ from Grenadier but that waiting any longer for a written commitment would result in works on the road, which had originally been expected to begin in September, being put back until next summer. Members were told the council had sought independent commercial advice in case Grenadier decided to pull out.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Megan Armstrong warned that verbal assurances are not good enough, adding: “The council is incurring costs without Grenadier being legally committed and if the council is willing to spend all this money on possibly a road to nowhere then so be it but I actually despair of this council making this decision.”

However, councillor Jill Elson said: “We have already incurred costs of £63,000 and if we delay any more we will be adding another £63,000 and we need a better car park.

“I believe we should be saying to Grenadier we are pushing to get on and we want this done in the winter and don’t want it done in the summer.

“I think it would be horrendous in the summer, not only for the tourist industry but there will be a health and safety issue for members of the public.”

Councillor Ian Thomas, cabinet committee chairman and leader of EDDC, said: “It’s incredibly important that we keep the Exmouth regeneration programme moving than allowing it to stagnate.

“It’s important that building works aren’t scheduled in the middle of the summer season and the disruption it will cause on the seafront in Exmouth.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/exmouth-seafront-road-work-set-to-start-1-5766519