Hartlepool MP welcomes proposals to regenerate ‘forgotten’ seaside towns

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has welcomed a high profile report into how seaside towns that have been ‘left behind’ can be regenerated.

The Lords Committee on Regeneration of Seaside Towns and Communities into the decline of British seaside towns published its findings last week.

It says many seaside towns and coastal communities are in desperate need of improvements to transport, housing and broadband internet.

Mr Hill said towns like Hartlepool have suffered from underinvestment which has seen big cities benefit.

He said: “This important report really does shine a light on the historic sufferings of coastal towns like Hartlepool due to underinvestment and tourism trends in the past.

“There is no doubt in my mind that coastal communities became forgotten communities as investment was concentrated on the rejuvenation of cities and urban conurbations in recent times at the expense of rural and coastal areas.

“I agree with the Lords findings that while the bigger towns like Brighton, Blackpool, Bournemouth and Scarborough have rediscovered ‘their swagger’ and are surviving, coastal communities like Hartlepool are part of the bigger problem and sit with other areas that have never emerged from the decline and loss of traditional industries, such as ship building and fishing.

“Places like Hartlepool have quite rightly been identified in the report as ‘left behind’ communities and the victims of the decline of the state as a provider of secure employment, housing through Local Authorities, and regulation.”

Chairman of the Committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton, said seaside towns have been neglected for too long and a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues is needed.

Lord Bassam said: “Places like Brighton and Bournemouth have shown that ‘the seaside’ can successfully reinvent itself. 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.”

Mr Hill added: “As everyone knows I have been singing the praises of the town as the MP and have shared the frustration of local residents and politicians alike that we have indeed been neglected over the years, and this report confirms that point.

“But the report also reflects the strong desires, resilience and aspirations of places like ours; refusing to lie down and demanding that Government has a more strategic approach to targeting investment in the burgeoning staycation industry.”