Seaside and Coastal Regeneration: Seasonal Swings in Seaside Towns

We are delighted to have sponsored today’s The Seaside and Coastal Regeneration Conference 2021, chaired by Professor Sheela Agarwal and featuring contributions from Sally-Ann Hart MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coastal Communities.

Our own Ben Ward-Cochrane, industry lead for Local Government presented original research contrasting seasonal coastal economies through footfall and catchment area analyses using mobility data from Community Vision – our product designed to help economic development officers build thriving communities.

Part one of that research looks at how footfall varies across the 20 largest coastal built-up areas (ONS) between summer and winter to provide a ranking of large coastal towns by year-round activity. This tide (pun intended) is significant as the delta between seasons offers a measure of the economic opportunity.

Across England’s 20 largest coastal built up areas (BUAs), all bar Tynemouth (which is heavily industrial) see less footfall in their town centres in the winter than in the summer. Six of them show very little difference between the seasons (sub-1%). These places can be thought of as ‘365 Economies’.

A section of towns may be thought of as mildly seasonal economies, with a winter reduction of 2.5 to 8.5%. Those in the top 20 with seasonal declines greater than 10% include Weston Super Mare, Southport, Bognor Regis and Margate. These towns may be thought of as seasonal towns.

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    Coastal towns are known for their levels of higher deprivation following the decline in domestic tourism since the 1970s. In the wake of the pandemic however, the practice of working from home and new emphasis on quality of life may play out in favour of England’s coastal communities as new residents take root.

    Seasonal towns have the most ground to make up, and also therefore have the greatest economic opportunities ahead of them. As picturesque and often well connected locations, together with stimulus from the Government’s Levelling Up fund, the conditions may be right for those centres to make a success of the times.

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