“The regeneration of Coatham is long overdue. Labour committed £20m to the area in February 2019 – £10m for the Regent Cinema and £10m for a 40-bed hotel alongside indoor leisure facilities. One of the first acts of the Independent led administration was to cut this second £10m from the budget and instead look for government handouts to fund the regeneration of Redcar and the private sector to build the hotel, both very risky in the current economic climate.
“Whilst the £750,000 on offer is welcome it is just a fraction of what Coatham expected and nowhere near enough to make the real difference we had envisaged. I sincerely hope it is the precursor to the speculative £25m Town Deal bid the government have encouraged Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council to submit by January 2021, following the consultation with the public. Redcar desperately needs that funding in order to continue the High Street revitalisation programme, which has funded and supported hotels, guest houses, retail and hospitality sector businesses since 2015 under the last Labour Administration but is coming to an end in March 2021.
“I have said for a number of years that Redcar, indeed the whole borough, doesn’t hold enough bed spaces to support the visitor economy. A new hotel has been on the cards for years and would compliment the excellent accommodation offers we already have. It is also pleasing to see the caravan park in Redcar expanding with confidence and in readiness for when we can get back to normality. But these are uncertain times.
“Visitor accommodation businesses will need to consider how they will operate out of season, as well as what impact the Covid-19 virus will have over the coming seasons. I am concerned that without the additional leisure facilities that we had budgeted for and whilst we are unsure of the future, additional accommodation may be seen as putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.
“While I fully support the need to move forward and smarten up our seafront (and I have made a lot of noise to that effect over many years), we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have lost a skatepark (RKade) and that social gathering area for our local youth and we still do not have a major attraction to draw in families to stay longer. Redcar has needed to focus more on the visitor economy for decades as the industry sector declined and so in this vein we have been playing catch up for years. Quite simply we need more to offer residents and visitors. Crazy golf and a park is welcome but something more ambitious and unique is really needed.
“The realisation of the new Regent Cinema is long overdue and we look forward to seeing the end result and to watching movies in Redcar again but in itself it isn’t enough to occupy our youth and families or to fill up accommodation. We still have a long way to go and this injection of funding is a great start but if the Town Deal money being dangled comes to fruition, along with the excellent suggestions put forward by the public, I believe we can at last uplift and promote the High Street, sea front and Esplanade to the standard we all expect for our fabulous coastal town.
as a Labour council runs Redcar, you will always have a rubbish town, lacking in almost everything, unlike the great town is was in the 1950/s and 1960’s, when the conservatives run it, liberals have not been much better, get Whitby and Scarboro councils to run the town, if you want a decent place to live,
Redcar isn’t run by Labour. As the post says Labour had committed an extra £10m on these projects but this was removed by the Independent administration. In the 1950’s to 1960’s tourism was a completely different animal with no economy package holidays and people holidaying in this country. Redcar’s focus was industry not tourism which largely took care of itself. On top of which there was no internet or gaming industry and limited TV.
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Was it a Not a Labour led council which approved allowing all the old Victorian houses on the seafront and in Queen St, Arthur St, Henry St, Turner St and Station Rd to become ‘houses of multiple occupancy’? Thus depriving and depleting Redcar’s stock of tourist orientated B and Bs? And creating a resevoir of bedsits and with some very unsavoury tenants? I know I wouldn’t stay overnight in any hotel THAT near to those ‘houses of multiple occupancy’. I grew up in Arthur St in the 50s and 60s and it is HEARTBREAKING to see what the Labout controlled council has allowed to happen to that area.
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Not all the Victorian properties are HMO but I take your point. In an ideal world these would be part of the hospitality sector, but it isn’t an ideal world and people need places to live. The coastal towns have been neglected by the Tories. In regard to Councils, the Planning committees on councils are cross party. I don’t know when or what decisions led to a landlorded B&B being repurposed into HMO’s but there is history that supports this. HMO’s have been policies used by the Conservatives and Labour to provide affordable housing. It is the unfortunate consequence of conservatism that abandons people, pushes transients to the coast, as it does now, with little options for those who would otherwise be homeless, if it weren’t for the welfare system. Housing and social economics was failing across the entire country in the 1960’s and homelessness was a huge issue that would eventually envelop the properties you write about along with thousands more across the country. There was little in way of legislation or charities to support young people and families. This issue hit coastal towns and tourism properties particularly hard because the visitor economy was to decline and when the coastal towns aren’t in season there was no income for those seafront owners. When they were back in season they couldn’t fill the rooms or maintain the properties. Tourism in the UK hit decline from the mid 1960’s onwards when cheap package holidays started up, creating a perfect storm. Places like Redcar suffered this lost revenue and declined and those owners either sold up or changed their offer. Over many decades, applications to build affordable social housing has had a history of being rejected and opposed by locals across the country. The consequences are apparent.
I do agree that the coastal properties are best served as holiday Let’s and would add value in the right hands but we need leisure investors willing to settle here with big ideas and big pockets.
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TBH IMHO both main political parties are as bad as each other. It isn’t just about package holidays. That should have made councils of either ilk work harder to keep tourism going. Instead the LA let go of the things that did help tourism here until theonly things left for tourist to come her for apart from the beach, were Pacitto’s Ice cream and the amusement arcades. From the Coatham end they let go the skating rink and the swimming pool which meant less traffic down to that end, so then the old tea room in the boating lake enclosure and then the boats closed down, and even the bowling alley went, so the tourists were left deprived of things they could enjoy when here. And as for rebuilding the swimming pool away from close to the beach area…. disaster for tourist enticement. And there were no longer regular sand yacht, and motor cycle races on the Majuba end of the beach. And as there was not so much passing trade then the ice cream parlour and the other tourist shop on either side of the Regent building went and there was no more family entertainment like pantos and other shows going on in the Regent Building. And in the meantime the Helter Skelter and then the swing boats, roundabout and trampolines and the shell fish and crabs beach hut on the beach went. There were no longer any deck chairs and windbreakers for hire to use on the beach. There was no more frequent sandcastle building competitions going on or even beach mission tent activities. All the tons of comfortable old bench seating slowly disappeared so seating became a premium, was so there less room for ppl to sit and watch over the sea/beach especially the elderly or disabled who couldn’t access the beach very easily. And the old bandstand wasn’t done away with so there was no longer a focus for bands and entertainment. Change of use was allowed from family friendly cafe and restaurants on the prom to nightclubs. And even the lifeguard safety was narrowed down to just a couple of hundred yards of beach, forcing ppl into a very confined stretch of beach if they wanted to sea bathe and feel safe. So OF COURSE ppl looked elsewhere, especially those who wanted more than just an expensive icecream or fish and chips or to have their kids pump their meagre hard earned resouces into a slot machine. And as visitor numbers dropped, the fisherfolk stopped offering trips out in the cobles to visitors as well. Narrow NARROW sighted. And traffic should never have been rerouted from the High Street to going down the prom. The prom should have been pedestrianised and then there could have been summertime kiosks selling all manner of things. The council killed the tourist trade over the last 50 years and more, not package holidays. Redcar could have been the Blackpool of the North East with a bit more class as well.
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Susan Elizabeth I do agree with this. The different local authorities watching over Redcar over the years undoubtedly neglected the tourism sector. I think the concentration was on other things like employment in industry, transport and improving road networks, housing and social welfare. Infrastructure and leisure offers were certainly not driven. I do wonder if when Butlins was rejected that something became broken in terms of visitor economy focus.
Tourism wasn’t the main staple here as it is in Blackpool, Whitby, Scarborough etc. Those places invest in tourism because that’s where their jobs are without much else. Redcar had British Steel and ICI.
Tourism in Redcar took care of itself until it no longer did and it took our local authority too long to adjust its budgets or to realise how neglected it was and how important it is to economy. By the time the council woke up in the 1990’s because industry was in decline, local authorities were already being squeezed, cutting staff and looking at efficiency models.
I remember being on the sand with the kids in my swimming trunks in the late 80’s on a hot weekend and looking at the amazing coastline and building sandcastles and then realising how empty the beach was. Hardly anyone goes swimming in the sea in Redcar. Then I was looking back at the dilapidated infrastructure with graffiti everywhere, the old shelters with broken seating, the back of Leo’s and the cinema both looked awful.
How tired and downtrodden it all looked in comparison to other coastlines. And then I looked at the ginger smoke coming out of the blast furnace and I realised in that moment just how doomed Redcar was as a coastal town. It was under invested and had been probably been since prewar, the 1920’s and 30’s was probably the last time there was decent money circulating.
Making do and patching up for decades until the seafront finally became noticeably worn out and the knock on effect that would have on visitors along with those taking their holiday trade abroad.
In fact in the 1990’s Saltburn too wasn’t looking particularly welcoming either.
Redcar seafront did get a facelift eventually in the style of a ship with masts and pedestrianisation and Regents Walk was built to grow the town offer. Now we’ve been playing catch up since the millennium and most all the infrastructure projects haven’t been fully embraced. I remain optimistic that Redcar will pick up again with new industry and new town funding being cited because this time we have a local authority with one eye on tourism too. We’ve just got a pandemic to shake and we’ll be good to go!
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