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Thread: NYT: ailing UK coastal towns

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Aug 2005

    NYT: ailing UK coastal towns

    NY TImes Article: Ailing Coastal Towns

    rather interesting article about how many UK coastal resort towns are suffering from the international tourist trade.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian UKPlanner's avatar
    Jan 2006
    London, UK
    True, the old idea of holidays at the beach in the UK isn't what it used to be. However, the last bank holiday saw the UK have higher temps than Spain!

    The article is correct though, cheap flights make weekend breaks to mainland europe so easy these days, even with his Tonyness' attempts to tax UK citizens out of the sky!

    As for 'Gastronomy scaled no greater heights than cod in batter and thick-cut fries fish and chips or bags of cockles, a rubbery mollusk, marinated in malt vinegar.'

    Cockles are great and not at all rubbery! As for fish and chips, hmmmm!

  3. #3
    Mar 2007
    the clue is in the name
    There are essentially two issues here; tourism and community development particular to UK coastal towns.

    Regarding the tourism; the dreadful cusine is absolutely not the issue it once was. In fact, check out the recent BBC Food Programme on the gourmet beach food in South Devon ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/...20070401.shtml ) and hear how good it can be. True too that this holiday we've had better weather than much of the costa del whatevers. At some point the realities of climate change will come to roost and the maddness of the 10p flight will disappear which may help renew people's interest in domestic hols...

    As to the planning issues... most of the findings in the recent reports are not unique to the coastal towns, but are highlighted due to the lack of economic options and demographics. (Though it's boom town for people willing to work for pittance taking care of the Elderly). Here in Devon this is exacerbated by the large number of holiday homes (throughout the county - not just on the coast).

    But it is an interesting topic...


  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break
    Quote Originally posted by maryindevon View post
    Regarding the tourism; the dreadful cusine is absolutely not the issue it once was. In fact, check out the recent BBC Food Programme on the gourmet beach food in South Devon ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/...20070401.shtml ) and hear how good it can be.
    There was a somewhat lighthearted discussion related to this issue that took place in the Friday Afternoon Club
    I'm sure you're correct when you say the dreadful cuisine is not the issue it once was, but is it possible the perception may still be lingering and couldn't that be contributing to the problem?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Mar 2005
    London, UK
    The weather's not so much bad as unreliable in the UK. In July in the med you're virtually guaranteed sunshine (say 95%), in the UK I've knowing people to come back fuming after 4 days of unremitting rain in otherwise spectacular Cornwall.

    Very high quality food can be had in the UK, but the mean level is very poor indeed.

    Furthermore, with few exceptions, the inland towns in Britain are more interesting and better kept, I find. Id much rather spend a weekend in Oxford than some tired old donkey-ride town. This weekend, the South Bank walk was absolutely spectacular in Lodon, with the great weather and all.

    Last but definitely not least: the cost. Even including the air travel, holidays in Spain are considerably cheaper, given a certain level of accommodation, food, etc.

  6. #6
    Sep 2007
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Hey ya'll - this is definitely an interesting discussion; I know I'm popping in a little late (and from the other side of the pond), but for anyone who still graces this thread maybe we can kickstart some more discussion about this issue, because its not one merely confined to England's seaside towns nor the UK itself.

    I was reading the NYT article and it became pretty clear that the problem isn't one that can be solved by importing paler sand or sprucing up the local fare (though that might help, haha). With cheap air fares to the Mediterranean, it's hard to justify throwing money into propping up the English seaside towns as tourist destinations when it will be for naught.

    From what I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong), British municipalities only have limited autonomy compared to their US counterparts - more power is vested in the various parliaments (Senedd, Holyrood, Westminster, Brussels) and the regional councils. This puts smaller jurisdictions at a disadvantage because they might need to really remake their entire economic base.

    It's about comparative advantage. Before Maastricht, these seaside towns were heavy tourist destinations, but there's no way they can compete on par with Dalmatia or Thrace as destinations. So either the government needs to find a way to impose heavy tariffs on air travel (which is a great way to constrain economic growth and piss people off) or the towns need to work on altering the service they provide to attract people again. I don't know enough about the areas in question just by reading that one NYT article, but I figure that it might involve diversifying their economic base away from tourism and more towards becoming bedroom communities.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Moderator note:
    Moved from the former Planning in the UK forum.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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