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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the June 2017 issue

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The Lincolnshire Coast is the third most visited destination in the UK with holidaymakers and day-trippers spoilt for choice because there are so many diverse places to visit along the twenty-two miles of coastline.

However, town leaders are not resting on their laurels when it comes to safeguarding its popularity and there has been much going on behind the scenes to ensure the Lincolnshire Coast visitor experience continues to be a success.

And there is a real buzz in the air following the news that plans to create a Lincolnshire Coast Destination Business Improvement District (BID) has been accepted.

Firms from Donna Nook to Gibraltar Point voted to pay into a new fund which will be spent on schemes to drive the coastal economy forward.

The BID area covers Wainfleet right up to Donna Nook and North Somercotes and includes Ingoldmells, Chapel St Leonards, Mablethorpe, Skegness, Sutton on Sea, Sandilands, Anderby Creek and Willoughby.

Lisa Collins, who will be the development manager for the brand new Lincolnshire Coastal Destination Business Improvement District (LCDBID), said the decision has the potential to give the Lincolnshire coast its own strong identity, similar to the Cornish coast.

“We are absolutely delighted. It has been a really positive campaign. We have been working towards this for around eighteen months and it will help lots of businesses from retail to accommodation and more,” she said.

“The big thing is people really want us to look at the branding and marketing of the area, they want to give it an identity - when you think of the Cornish coast you can visualise it, we want to do the same for the Lincolnshire coast.”

Ms Collins said she wants to make the traditional summer season even longer and have tourists flocking to the coast all year round.

A weekly fireworks display and more craft markets have already been suggested, though no decision on upcoming events has been taken yet.

A total of 1,108 firms voted on the plans and a staggering seventy-five per cent of businesses backed the scheme.

“We are delighted with the outcome of the vote for a Destination Business Improvement District for the Lincolnshire coast,”  said Ms Collins.

“This business-led initiative and investment will make a tremendous difference to the twenty-two mile coastal strip. Seventy-five per cent of those businesses who voted, with a rateable value of eighty-one per cent backed the DBID and have pledged their support to the initiative.

“We are now starting work to set the company up and put in place plans to launch our ambitious business plan for the coast.”

Competitors like Great Yarmouth have already established a BID that is investing £450,000 each year into improvements for the local trading environment and attracting new visitors and generating new and additional revenue for businesses.

“The Lincolnshire Coast is a great asset that offers tremendous value for money. The area is performing well but if the Lincolnshire Coast aspires to continue to be amongst the best it needs to improve and become an even better place for people to visit, work and invest,” said Ms Collins.

“Events are also key to unlocking further growth and potential for the area and we will be offering business support through improved communication systems and access to training.

“There is much to look forward to and we are ready for the challenge ahead. We firmly believe that joining our coastline up will offer a varied destination for our visitors, from busy vibrant seaside resorts, with great attractions, places to shop, eat and stay, to quiet coastal villages, to the natural beauty of our beaches, ensuring there really is something for everyone”.

Ms Collins said the evidence is that the twenty-two miles of Lincolnshire Coast faces many of the typical challenges that British tourism destinations face, such as regional, national and international competition for market share, access and infrastructure issues, modernising, attracting investment, organisational and funding stability.

“Our neighbours and competitors up and down the east coast are already facing these challenges and reaping the rewards from local businesses taking that leap to invest in their own future,” she said.

“The BID area has been carefully chosen after months of consultation to include key business sectors reliant on the coast for commerce, infrastructure and profile.“

The BID will raise £3 million over five years which will only be spent on projects within the BID area in line with the legislation.

“This is an exciting time for the area and we are keen to ensure the branding and marketing of the area embraces all we have to offer,” said Ms Collins.

“Equally we are aiming to promote the area as an all year round destination to promote our wonderful natural coastal areas to attract new visitors who may not be aware of what a diverse stretch of coastline we offer in Lincolnshire.”

It hasn’t been all good news for the town though recently.

Ambitious plans to replace the ageing Victorian Tower Gardens Pavilion in the town with a modern community facility has stalled after the £3.5 million funding bid was rejected by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

The plan was to demolish the derelict pavilion and build a new community and heritage hub which would include a tearoom, seaside heritage centre and shop, council chamber, community enterprise units and offices.

Clerk to Skegness Town Council, Steve Larner, said it was disappointing.

“The funding hasn’t come through and a lot of the funding pots have now been temporarily closed until after the General Election so we won’t know what is going to happen until after then,” he said.

“The project is on the back burner until after June 8th and then it will be looked at again.”

The pavilion building was originally gifted to the people of Skegness by the Earl of Scarbrough, Richard George Lumley.

It has been occupied by a variety of enterprises including tearooms, a flag factory and an American-style diner as well as a pub.

The pavilion has been empty since 2008 and in 2015 a campaign was launched by the community to save the Tower Gardens Pavilion amid fears the council was going to demolish it.

Mr Larner said there were lots of things going on in Skegness this year.

“The SO Festival is coming in July and it is carnival week in August so there is a lot going on,” he said. “We are hoping to have another bumper holiday season.”

And if the last May Bank Holiday is anything to go by, that is exactly what is going to happen.

Train ticket selling company Trainline has looked at how many people booked fares to resorts across the UK for the May bank holiday and released a top ten list of the most popular destinations.

Skegness came in at number four only beaten by Brighton, Bournemouth and Weymouth.

In anticipation of an increase in visitors to the east coast this summer, new car parking arrangements have been introduced across the district to give a boost to businesses.

East Lindsey District Council has produced a new parking policy which details a series of changes aimed at increasing footfall on the High Streets and encouraging shoppers to stay for longer.

In Skegnesss there will be a choice of tariffs and new pay on exit machines on the Festival car park. Work has also been taking place to ease traffic congestion in Skegness town centre.

The Go Skegness scheme was designed to support the east coast economy, encourage growth, alleviate town centre congestion, and develop more opportunities for visitors and residents to use sustainable methods of transport.

The project was made possible thanks to £4m of funding secured by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP from the Government’s Single Local Growth Fund.

The programme of work includes improvements to the A52 Roman Bank to reduce congestion, improve bus reliability and create upgraded facilities for walking and cycling.

It also includes improvements to cycle paths, footpaths and links from key visitor destinations to the bus and rail station within the town centre itself and the surrounding area.

MABLETHORPE
Skegness may be the most popular location on the Lincolnshire Coast for an affordable getaway, but Mablethorpe is the most picturesque.

Recent data released by holidaylettings.co.uk, the UK’s leading holiday home website and a Tripadvisor company, put Skegness in the UK’s top-five most affordable locations to rent a holiday home over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

Now Mablethorpe has been named in the top ten most picturesque seaside towns in the country.

The list, compiled by the Metro, has named the top seventeen best picturesque seaside towns that are not only known for their quality fish and chips and arcade machines but also because they have fantastic sights to take in too. Mablethorpe came in at number ten.

One of the traditional sights to behold at Mablethorpe are the beach huts which are very much a part of the iconic seaside holiday. Now improvement works have secured the future of the beach huts in Mablethorpe for generations to come.

The project, which cost £197,000, saw nine new huts built at Queen’s Park to fill existing empty plots, and eighteen refurbished on Central Promenade to include a full redecoration, new kitchen units and sink, new internal UPVC doors and new external wooden doors.

At nearby Sutton on Sea, the Residents’ Association has taken on a five year lease for hut numbers two to fifteen and East Lindsey District Council has put aside £205,000 of capital funds to redevelop huts sixteen to twenty-nine, subject to match funding from the Residents’ Association.

Mablethorpe has also had a new state-of-the-art Lidl open in the town which features a new glass fronted design and is fitted with the latest energy efficiency technologies to minimise its impact on the environment.

The ‘Lidl of the Future’ store in Stanley Avenue is more than 2,000 square metres in size and boasts 100 car parking spaces, as well as enhanced shopping and welfare facilities.

The design is set to be rolled out across the UK as part of a £1.5bn expansion plan.

INGOLDMELLS
Skegness’s closest neighbour is Ingoldmells, which is a hugely popular destination for holidaymakers with its numerous caravan parks and attractions.

In fact, Ingoldmells has the largest containment of caravans in Europe. Not only is it home to the iconic Butlin’s holiday village, it also hosts the highly popular Fantasy Island theme park, which has just seen more than £3 million invested in brand new rides.

This investment will bring a host of new attractions to the park, including an indoor mini golf course, an American-style bowling alley and six junior and family rides.

Billy Butlin’s inspiration for his holiday camp empire came from an unhappy holiday on Barry Island in his youth, when he had been locked out of his bed and breakfast accommodation all day by his landlady, which was normal practice at the time.

The first of the Butlins holiday camps was opened in 1936 in Skegness, following his success in developing amusement parks.

A second camp quickly followed in Clacton (1938), and construction on the Filey Holiday Camp began in 1939. But with the outbreak of the Second World War, building at Filey was postponed, and the camps at Skegness and Clacton were given over for military use.

FESTIVAL FUN
The Lakes Festival returns on Saturday 8th July and looks set once again to provide festival goers with a fantastic and memorable occasion. This year sees chart-topping pop rock band Hoosiers confirmed as the headline band and will be supported by some of the regions most talented acts such as Brotherhood, Band From County Hell and Ash Wilson with many more yet to be confirmed.

The Festival which has now been running for 5 years is held within the picturesque grounds of Sycamore Lakes near to Skegness. Beer tent, Pimm’s tent and hog roast will be available throughout the day and in to the evening with the event being dramatically topped off with a spectacular musical themed firework finale.

Gates open at 2pm and is expected to finish at 11pm. Tickets are available from The Lakes Restaurant, Sycamore Lakes, Skegness Road, Burgh-Le-Marsh, Skegness or by calling 01754 811198 or 07940 393915. Alternatively you can book tickets online at www.solidentertainments.com

Keep up to date with all the festival news including further confirmed bands by following the Facebook page /TheLakesRestaurant.

TOWN CRIER
Visitors to Skegness this summer are guaranteed an extra warm welcome.

Skegness Town Council has appointed a new town crier to meet and greet people at the railway station and in the town.

Steve O’Dare officially started his duties on 18th May and is sure to become a familiar figure around the centre and at the many events planned for this year.

Skegness Town Council clerk Steve Larner said: “The town council thinks it is a useful attraction to have a town crier and is hoping he will become a focal point for visitors.

“He will be supporting the Mayor and other town council dignitaries at events around the town throughout the year, such as the carnival and he will also be welcoming visitors to the town at the railway station and he will be around the centre making various proclamations.”

Mr O’Dare is Skegness’s first ever town crier but Mablethorpe had one for a while and other places in Lincolnshire have had them on and off too.

“In this part of the country there are not many town criers. But across England as a whole there are a huge number of them.” said Mr Larner.

There are two societies that represent town criers and they have competitions where they are judged on how well they make their proclamations.

“There hasn’t been a town crier in Skegness before. But it is a bit of a focal point and a bit of fun and the town council thought it would attract attention and add to the visitor experience,” added Mr Larner.

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