Sunday, 8 September 2013
The Future of British Seaside Town's
The think-tank, looked in depth at the problems of five prominent resorts: Rhyl, in north Wales; Margate, Kent; Clacton-on-Sea, Essex; Blackpool, Lancs and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
I have resisted the urge to blog on this subject as last week I was due to spend a long weekend in one of those resorts named, Great Yarmouth. This post needs to considered in the fact that was the last weekend of the high season and that it was a pleasant weekend temperature wise at 23 degrees with plenty of sunshine.
We stayed just outside Great Yarmouth in Hopton on Sea which is similar to Leigh or Shoeburyness in the context of Southend's golden mile.
We stayed at the Haven Holiday Park in Hopton which was full as were nearby Haven parks in Caister on Sea and the one on Yarmouth seafront itself which we found when booking.
Despite attracting people to stay for more than one day, as can been seen from the photo above, Great Yarmouth was desolate. The picture above was taken at 12:30 last Sunday whilst Miss Cox was enjoying herself on the beach bouncy castle. There was not a sole on it. Could you imagine Southend being this empty on the last Sunday in the High Season with a nice sunny day with temperatures of 23 degrees? No, neither could I.
In the spirit of fairness, Great Yarmouth does have a couple of advantages over Southend. The first is that it has Holiday parks, like Haven, which still attracts visitors as does Clacton, and if Southend had something like this along with its offer would boost this town considerably. It is something that I have desired for some time. The second is the beach. Whilst Southend has some of the finest beaches in the Eastern region, Great Yarmouth still has the advantage with its golden sandy beaches.
So what is it that attracts people to the area but does not persuade them to visit Great Yarmouth? There is evidence of decay with a number of hotels closing and some being converted into homes of multiple occupancy. There is a lack of major High Street stores in the town centre with a number of shops boarded up. Whilst there has been some half hearted investment on the promenade, nothing on the scale that Southend has seen in the last decade.
Now there is the good old fashioned issue of car park prices. To park on the seafront the parking charges were £1.50 for an hour or £3.00 for two hours with every subsequent hour after that £2.00. Now these are extortionate. I have spent a number of holidays in the UK over the past few years and never have I experienced parking charges as high as that. I don't think that I ever want to hear that parking charges are turning people away from Southend again as I will just point them in the direction of Great Yarmouth.
The whole place just looks tired as if time has left it behind almost. The Great Yarmouth pleasure beach gave the impression of looking so dilapidated that you would be concerned if you went on one of the rides, an impression that you do not get with Adventure Island.
The donkeys looked sad at not having children to bring smiles to their faces, as did the horses with nobody wanting a horse and carridge ride. The views out to sea have quite frankly been decimated by the ugly looking wind farm by EoN energy.
It was sad to see especially as I can remember some very fond holidays to Great Yarmouth as a child. What is pleasing is whilst some costal towns are showing signs of decay, Southend has bucked this trend and is very much on the up.
Posted by Tony Cox at 10:38