Towns like Bexhill ‘suffer from neglect’, says House of Lords report

Bexhill beach. Picture: Steve Hunnisett
Bexhill beach. Picture: Steve Hunnisett

Many seaside towns and coastal communities like Bexhill are in desperate need of improvements to transport, housing and broadband, says a new report.

Better access to further and higher education for young people is also needed, the report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns said.

Lord Bassam of Brighton, chairman of the committee, said: “For too long, seaside towns have been neglected. They suffer from issues rooted in the decline of their core industries, most notably domestic tourism, but also in fishing, shipbuilding and port activity.

“The potential impact of Brexit on these towns also remains an open question. 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.”

Bexhill MP, Huw Merriman said: “I fully welcome this report. There is no one size fits all model for regenerating coastal towns as each town is very different. Bexhill has its own unique set of assets and challenges. We therefore need to look carefully at these to decide how we can make our town work for its residents and visitors for generations to come.

“There is already a lot of great work and regeneration happening including the north Bexhill housing and commercial area development, as well as the new link roads and the seafront. We now need to focus on the needs of the town centre and the high streets to make it a more attractive place to visit, work and rest.

“That is why I am working closely with stakeholders including Rother District Council (RDC), the county council, Transport for the South East along with the arts, business, tourism and voluntary sectors to make our case for improvements in A roads, rail services and mobile/broadband networks that will incentivise growth. I’m pleased RDC is looking toward the future in developing a new town centre strategy for Bexhill.”

An RDC spokesman said: “We recognise some of the issues outlined in the report such as the need for improved transport links and would welcome any national or regional initiatives or funding which would deliver improvements in this area.

“However, in Rother we continue to have a thriving tourist industry attracting tourists from around the country and overseas to visit Bexhill and sites such as the historic town of Rye and world-renowned 1066 battlefield.”

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