Three things of which the last is by far the most important:
1. The BBC are doing a coastal community’s day today, live from Penzance, highlighting coastal issues. What I have seen of it so far has been balanced; much of it reading like an overview of one our own or our partners’ summaries of the wider coastal socioeconomic issues.
The seasonal nature of tourism and a passing comment on second homes, in relationship to their impact on affordable homes and local resident’s 365 day a year contribution to economic and social well-being is the only references to tourism, negative or otherwise, that I have picked up on so far. This is potentially a timely intervention for coastal community interest’s courtesy of the BBC?
2. I spoke at the Coastal Partnership Network’s, English Coastal Challenge Summit 2019 in Southampton yesterday. The event brought together the Coastal Partnership Network, the LGA Coastal Special Interests Group and the Coastal Communities Alliance (we are founding members of the later). I gave one of two keynote introductory addresses: Coastal Presentation which, unsurprisingly, majored on tourism but in the context of wider destination management, socioeconomic and environmental issues
The main theme of the day was a round national coastal strategies and resilience and adaptation policies. It may just have been a combination of the subject matter and background disciplines of the majority of the audience but I was left feeling that socioeconomic sustainability and, within that the sustainability of tourism as an economic driver, was regarded as very much a secondary concern to environmental and physical sustainability. I may be entirely wrong ?
If I am not wrong then it suggested to me that there may be as much work to be done yet around influencing the understanding and priorities of other coastal disciplines, as there is around educating non-coastal interests and Government. We can only do so much nationally. There may need to be more engagement done locally with other relevant coastal discipline groupings, who you may have direct links to?
3. The opportunity to influence the shape of post Brexit funding arrangements is not yet closed off. If you believe that coastal tourism interests would continue to be best served by retaining a separate Coastal Community Fund, rather than to seeing the fund potentially subsumed into a generic, all comers Future Prosperity Fund, then it is not too late to lobby on the issue. There are of course potential pitfalls, for example, such a move might leave the coast reliant on a heavily oversubscribed CCF and debarred from applying competitively to a future FPF? On past experience we think that unlikely and something that could in any case be tackled, if and when it looked like it might be about to happen.
We continue to highlight nationally the marginal nature of many coastal political constituencies, the apparent difficulties coastal bids (in common with rural bids) often face in open competition against all other typologies for funding and the undeniable benefits that the, albeit oversubscribed, CCF has already had. It is an existing UK fund not of EU origin, it isn’t in anyway broken, so why try and fix it?
With the potential for a General Election looming, at some point soon, it may be well worth local coastal destination management bodies, raising the issue of retaining the CCF with sitting and/or any prospective MPs.