Making the British seaside great again: An evaluation of coastal regeneration projects

Authors: Chapman, A. and Richardson, L.

Conference: Travel and Tourism Research Association (Europe Chapter) Annual Conference

Dates: 8-10 April 2019


In response to British seaside resorts' decline as long-stay holiday destinations from the 1970s onwards there has been a wide range of regeneration initiatives since the start of the 21st century. These initiatives include the Heritage Lottery Fund, CABE Sea Change initiative from 2008 to 2010, Coastal Communities Funding from 2012 onwards, and the Coastal Revival Fund which was introduced in 2015. In this paper we examine ten high-profile regeneration projects within British seaside resorts which have taken place during the last decade: Blackpool Tower, Southern Pavilion on Worthing Pier, Folkestone Harbour Arm, Swanage Pier, Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion, Margate Dreamland, Boscombe Seafront, Hastings Pier, Southport Atkinson Art Gallery, and the Swanage Railway.

The ten projects provide a snapshot of rejuvenation around the English coastline and represent a cross-section of seaside regeneration initiatives: some have been developed by private investors or entrepreneurs; whilst others have been led by local councils, charitable organisations or community trusts. In-depth interviews were conducted with senior representatives from each regeneration project to identify what are considered to be critical success factors in coastal regeneration.

The results show that regeneration projects must address a number of issues associated with the coast, including socio-economic deprivation, wider resort regeneration, seasonality, and changing tastes and trends for holidaymakers. There are also a number of issues presented in relation to funding, heritage conservation, and political power. Nevertheless the ten seaside regeneration initiatives overcame these issues and the results identify a number of critical success factors before, during and after the completion of each project. These critical success factors have informed the development of a best practice framework for seaside resort regeneration which is presented in this paper. The framework provides a comprehensive overview of industry, strategic, temporal and environmental critical success factors for coastal regeneration projects and as such is a valuable tool for organisations undertaking or involved in seaside regeneration.

Source: Manual