THE ‘COASTAL CHALLENGES’ CLUSTER
e.g. Blackpool, Dover, Mablethorpe, Great Yarmouth
This grouping is the most geographically prescriptive, including only places which are next to the sea. This means that the great many are physically difficult to get to, perhaps explaining some of the traits they share.
They are also places which over-index for deaths from drug poisoning and misuse, for the size of the private rental sector, and for pensioner poverty. In Wales we use IMD health inequality as a substitute metric for pensioner poverty.
Blackpool is an emblematic example of coastal challenges. It has the highest drug death rate of any English or Welsh town and, despite very high deprivation just 8% of people live in social housing – compared to a towns average of 16%.
The types of challenges for resilience in places like this relate in part to decline narratives carrying a lot of weight – compounded by genuine economic deterioration.
‘Coastal challenges’ are perhaps as tied to globalisation as any of our factors, reflecting and worldwide shift which is very hard to reverse. However, public promotion of holidaying in the UK, alongside infrastructure improvements, and an emphasis on quality of housing, can reduce many of the core issues – making it easier for struggling coastal areas to ‘reinvent’ themselves.