Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, has led local bodies and authorities in calling to extend the season in Skegness over the Christmas period.
Along with Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council and local businesses, Matt would like to see to see more caravan parks opening for longer, for instance, to allow caravan owners to enjoy the Christmas season.
Considering a longer season was an East Lindsey District Council Conservative manifesto commitment, and costal economic growth is central to Lincolnshire County Council’s future plans, so there is much political will behind the proposals. Businesses would also see the economic benefits of extending the season, which would provide a boost to the local economy and local jobs.
Matt said, “Extending the season in Skegness and the surrounding area is a crucial part of our shared ambition to double the value of the coastal economy over the coming years. In the past few weeks I’ve had very productive meetings with council leaders, the Environment Agency and others, and it is clear that there is real willingness to work together to achieve this shared aim.”
“I am, of course, acutely aware of the need to ensure the safety of those using the parks over Christmas, particularly from more severe weather conditions, so it is vital that we ensure that evacuation plans and other safety measures are at the centre of our plans. In the coming months I am committed to working together with agencies and local authorities to do all I can to see improvements and improved consistency in when sites are able to open.”
Cllr Steve Kirk, Portfolio Holder for the Coastal Economy at East Lindsey District Council, remarked, “I whole heartedly support the announcements made by Matt Warman, the MP for Boston and Skegness. I, like Matt, firmly believe that allowing caravan parks to open longer would offer a significant boost to our local economy. Since taking on the Portfolio in May of this year, working to lengthen the season has been high on my agenda and on that of the District Council. The Christmas holiday is one of the busiest of the year and one that we should take full advantage of. Having already had meetings myself with site owners, planners and the Environment Agency I appreciate the many concerns around safety that must be addressed however, I also get a feeling that there is a strong desire by many to see this type of season extension happen.”
Phil Younge, Environment Agency Area Manager for Lincolnshire said, “The Environment Agency will continue to work with and advise the Planning Authority on flood risk within the wider National Planning Policy Framework. This includes a sequential test and hierarchy of mitigation measures, all of which seek to ensure development is appropriate and located in areas of lowest possible risk. The sequential test is one which the Planning Authority applies.”
Cllr Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development, Environment, Strategic Planning & Tourism at Lincolnshire County Council, commented, “On behalf of the County Council I welcome this initiative from Matt Warman, the MP for Boston and Skegness, and he will have our full support in bringing together all interested parties who wish to increase the economic vibrancy of our coastline, so that it can play its full part in growing the Lincolnshire economy for future generations. Whilst there are many challenges for all coastal communities caused by climate change, we must strive harder so these communities can grow and economically contribute to their future success.”
Mayor of Skegness Carl Macey added, “Skegness is the premier resort of the east coast and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK, where we continue with the help of local businesses, community groups and all levels of local government to create a thriving local economy. The threat of flooding is something for us all to be concerned with, but we cannot allow this to affect the growth of our area, as this will only risk our vision and chances of extending the season. It is very welcome news that, with the help of our MP, all levels of local government, the Environment Agency and other important interested parties will be working closer than ever to create solutions to the issues we face, including flooding, to create a more informed approach to the future of Skegness, not only for our residents but also our visitors, and to create the economy we deserve.”
John Chappell said, “As Chairman of Skegness Partnership and a local business proprietor, I know that the local business community fully supports any measures that will help us to extend the current tourist season and Matt’s efforts will help greatly to drive this forward. Extending the season will help improve business viability, profitability, employment and pay levels and is one of our biggest challenges. We need local authorities and the Environment Agency to be flexible and understand how businesses have to operate in order to achieve this, but together we can achieve so much more!”
Matt, the local councils, the Environment Agency and businesses had planned to discuss the next steps in extending the season in mid-December, but the Cumbrian floods meant that key Environment Agency personnel from Lincolnshire were called upon to help with the relief efforts in the North West. That meeting will now take place in the new year.