Think tank says seaside towns must develop unique identities

New report on prosperity in seaside towns

New report on prosperity in seaside towns - Credit:

New research has highlighted the importance of entrepreneurs in helping to revive seaside towns that have fallen into decline and unlock further potential in those already prospering.

A report by non-profit think tank, the Centre for Entrepreneurs, concluded that seaside towns must develop unique identities to boost their image, and calls on leaders to tackle deficiencies in seaside schools and match broadband infrastructure roll-out with training programmes to increase uptake.

Centre chairman, Luke Johnson said: “Just as entrepreneurs built seaside towns, we believe that it is the invention and drive of entrepreneurs that can revive them.

“Ultimately it is down to each of Britain’s seaside towns, and the collaboration of entrepreneurs, local politicians and residents, to formulate the unique strategy, based on the town’s identity, that will revive fortunes.”

The report profiles entrepreneurs turning around five seaside towns across the UK, including Littlehampton property developer and design patron Jane Wood, burgeoning Yorkshire vessel operator Dalby Offshore and the Ramore Restaurants group in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Entitled ‘From ebb to flow: How entrepreneurs can turn the tide for Britain’s seaside towns’, it claims that some declining seaside towns share a number of challenges, including physical isolation, education deficiencies, deprivation and low-wage, low-skilled seasonal work.

But, it argues, a “pioneering” generation of entrepreneurs, investors, cultural institutions and local politicians were finding fresh relevance for some of Britain’s biggest, and smallest, seaside towns.

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To tackle educational deficiencies, the report calls on the Government to launch a ‘Seaside Challenge’, modelled on the last Labour government’s ‘London Challenge’ to turn around London’s poor performing schools. Additionally, the report endorses the role of Teach First and encourages the education charity to work with government to place talented teachers into the most deprived seaside schools.

It also calls on local authorities to match investment in broadband infrastructure with training and awareness campaigns to ensure uptake. Councils are further encouraged to maintain publicly accessible asset registries to help entrepreneurs identify development opportunities.