Having just read the latest Hunstanton Prosperity Economic Plan by West Norfolk Council for the future of Hunstanton,
I was disappointed at the apparent lack of vision or desire for growth and change. Could this be another missed opportunity for a town suffering high winter unemployment, a lack of opportunity for its young and inadequate provision for its older residents?
The report starkly identifies the major issues confronting us and considers Hunstanton’s exceptional assets, but we know that it’s over-reliant on seasonal tourism. Our winter jobless are greater in number than the average and we are an ageing population with little work to attract and keep the young in the town.
More of the same is the proposal! Extend the season so visitors stay longer and spend more, seek modest investment for improvements to the beachfront and town centre in the hope that visitors will be attracted; all of this is good, but what about the over-reliance on tourism itself which cannot provide year-round jobs for the population?
There is a desire to build more homes, presumably to be snapped up by the older and retired generation like me, but what about encouraging new commercial activities so that we attract younger entrepreneurs who can bring new investment to our town? Little is suggested, although there is a passing reference to the fact that fast broadband is now available and the hope that a large hotel group, which will demand high year-round occupancy rates which are unlikely to be achieved from tourism alone, if it is to invest. Surely, we need a real change in our approach, a leader and team who want a strong and mixed economy, one with the facilities to care for older persons, providing good education and skills for the young and progressive jobs where they can prosper and develop. We also need to have effective roads so people don’t spend hours in traffic jams between Lynn and Hunstanton.
Commercial activities such as, dare I say it, call centres, designers, and start-up production units, possibly even a science park in conjunction with UEA, could all bring good, steady and permanent jobs.
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