A NEW plan to revive seaside towns has been welcomed by Southend Council.

A House of Lords select committee has produced “the future of seaside towns” to encourage more support for areas, including Canvey and Southend.


Many of the ideas in the report already match what Southend Council is attempting to do, according to director of regeneration Emma Cooney.

She said: “Many of the regeneration solutions mentioned in the House of Lords report, such as better transport links, improvements to digital infrastructure and encouraging business and educational opportunities to boost home-grown talent, are also ambitions for us as part of our Southend 2050 project and within our ‘re-imagining the town centre’ report due to go through scrutiny next week.

“Investing in local heritage is also highlighted in the report, something which we continue to do with our 2019/20 budget committing £14million to enhancing attractions on the world’s longest pier, in addition to the £15million already allocated for repairs and maintenance, to improve something that gives pride and joy to so many.

“This report is helpful and we welcome any suggestions or tools which can help us to improve and enhance the long term regeneration of the town.”

Likewise Norman Smith, leader of Castle Point Council, confirmed work is being done to revive the seafront already, although extra help is appreciated.

Mr Smith said while some coastal areas have been neglected, Castle Point is “already on the journey” towards seafront regeneration rather than just beginning.

He said: “We recently received the £1.52million grant from the Coastal Communities Fund and that was one of the biggest grants they have given out.

“We also just received another grant of just over £40,000 to look at the toilet facilities so that we can do some work there too.

“We recognised that demand was there for regeneration from the public and our volunteer groups had already started the work but we felt that Castle Point Council needed to get behind it and attract money and investment in the area and we have done that through the grants.

“But that is only one part of it, we have also been talking to current business owners and working out what their aspirations are in the area, as well as speaking to companies looking to come into the area.

“We are now looking to regenerate the other end of the seafront, known as the Esplanade.

“If you look at both Southend and Castle Point and the visitors we both attract, it proves that if you start to get things right people will come. Castle Point has recognised that and its good for the area and for the seafront.”

The aspirational report from a select committee lays out a roadmap for how seaside towns can “reinvent themselves” and end long-running issues of neglect and deprivation, as well as how these changes can be supported by the Government.

It includes calling for improvements to housing after finding that “coastal towns suffer disproportionately from high levels of poor-quality housing”.

This is particularly due to the prevalence of properties which are shared by multiple occupants.

These properties have often been created to support the growing number of people moving to coastal towns temporarily.

The report suggests many of them are vulnerable and have been moved there by neighbouring local authorities.

The report goes on to outline how regeneration projects can help to boost the seaside economy.

The report also found there was limited access to education, particularly further education and higher education institutions, which is denting education in coastal areas.

Improved transport links are seen as a way to help as well as increased funding.

The report states: “The Coastal Communities Fund is viewed as too small scale to support sustainable regeneration.

“The Government should review the fund’s effectiveness.

“If it is making a positive impact, then it should continue with it and increase the fund’s resources.

The report added: “Some towns have boosted regeneration by cultivating their local creative industries.”

It is hoped the report will lead to action from the Government to increase support.