13.Many UK seaside towns were developed in the late 19th century to serve an expanding domestic tourism market. Their long-term decline began in the 1970s, when foreign holidays became a more viable option for mass tourism. As a result, many seaside towns have been left with a legacy of semi-redundant accommodation and housing stock, and low housing prices. This in turn has contributed to a transient population, presenting issues for local authorities which are compounded by the need to provide support for vulnerable adults and children placed in coastal towns by other councils. The health-related issues facing seaside towns are illustrated by the fact that Blackpool has the lowest male life expectancy in England and Wales. Recent studies have also highlighted the prevalence of poor mental health in coastal communities.
14.Historic reliance on the tourist industry presents further challenges, and the economic gap between coastal and non-coastal towns has widened over time. The mean salary level in Scarborough in 2016 was the lowest in Britain and £8,517 below the national average. The November 2017 report of the Social Mobility Commission concluded that coastal towns such as Scarborough and Hastings were becoming “entrenched social mobility coldspots”, and identified limited employment options and poor educational outcomes as key determinants of this trend. The Commission also noted that many coastal communities suffered from poor transport connectivity.
15.The challenges faced by seaside towns are, therefore, complex and cross-cutting. The policy areas engaged by this inquiry would cut across a number of Government departments, policy and funding initiatives.
16.The key areas that an inquiry might cover include:
17.We recommend the establishment of an ad hoc committee to consider the regeneration of seaside towns and communities, to report by the end of March 2019.
5 Office for National Statistics, Life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by local areas in England and Wales: 2012 to 2014 (4 November 2015): [accessed 19 March 2018]
6 Exasol, Antidepressants prescribed far more in English coastal towns (14 April 2017): [accessed 19 March 2018]
7 ‘Seaside towns among most deprived communities in the UK’, The Guardian (4 September 2017): [accessed 19 March 2018]
8 Social Mobility Commission, State of the nation 2017: Social mobility in Great Britain (November 2017): [accessed 19 March 2018]