Friday, 1 January 2010

Whitley Bay shows the Way to Dirty Weekends Away!

Regular readers will know how disappointed I am at Thanet District Council's current tourist strategy focusing on one off events which involve the consumption of large amounts of carbon for powerboats or aeroplanes. It is not just China that was opposed to an agreement at Copenhagen, Thanet Conservatives have acted in solidarity with their Chinese friends to promote pollution and the wasting of resources.
I have consistently argued for a sustainable green tourist strategy. Today's Independent has an example of the sort of initiative Thanet should be developing. Whitley Bay (pictured) in the North East is developing luxury beach huts with
"Microwave oven
Ceramic hob
Fridge / Freezer
Washing machine
Expresso machine
Heated towel rail
Electric shower
Luxury WC and basin
24hr concierge services
24hr monitored CCTV for the externals of the huts which can be disabled during occupation.
All huts fitted with alarm system"
So you can disable your CCTV, if you are in your beach hut with somebody you would rather nobody else knew about - the return of the traditional seaside dirty weekend away!
More importantly instead of a day visit for an airshow causing traffic congestion, but very little local spending, this facilitates return visits. Better still people will stay for longer and spend more money locally.
I would like to see the money which is currrently inefficiently spent on one off events spent on trying to facilitate this kind of development. Perhaps some of the current older beach huts could be considered for redevelopment so long as current tenants reatined rights to future huts?


  1. Mark, are all those electrical 'essentials' solar powered? or are the 'Dirty Weekenders' just emmitting their carbon foot print at Northflete Power Station?

  2. I was thinking the same thing Ken. If that's a "sustainable green tourist strategy" then gawd help us! I'm sure that most of the caravans being approved on sites in Thanet don't use anywhere near as many resources.

  3. Doubt it'll be Northfleet Power Station (or Kingsnorth to use its current name) that would supply electricity to the North-east of England.

    Isn't the point of the article that Whitley Bay local authorities are encouraging reasonably well-off tourists to become regular visitors rather than fly off for a weekend somewhere. Additionally these are beach huts where people can sleep in a town where the tourist industry has passed it by. I don't fancy those North Sea windy beaches myself but if I lived in Newcastle or another NE town I might be tempted.

  4. Happy New Year Ken and Pete,

    I think you're missing the point the same people would be using the same or more devices at their homes so there will be no extra energy consumed. As the beach huts are smaller than houses there will be less energy/carbonused so it is green tourism. Methods of travel of course may change the overall total, but as this initiative is aimed at people who now holiday overseas then the benefits in reduced travel are clear.

    Ken I am glad to see you seem to believe in climate change, unlike many fellow Conservative Party members in Thanet. Will you show the moral courage to call for the money spent each year on Margate's polluting airshow to be spent on other tourist initiatives so that Thanet can reduce its carbon emissons?

  5. And to you too Mark!

    Personally I've always seen a holiday base (caravan, B&B, hotel) as little more than a base to sleep in & perhaps eat in. I certainly wouldn't care about all those home comforts (who does washing while on holiday?).

    Also, I didn't see Ken mention climate change. I care about pollution of course & I realise that the earth's recources won't last for ever & that we need to find alternatives, but that's does NOT mean I believe that climate change is man-made...

  6. I like to travel light when on holiday (not as light perhaps as Peter when it comes to clothing) so a washing machine helps when away for a week or so.

  7. First a happy New Year to you all before I get my oar in.

    Here in Ramsgate every last beach hut has been demolished, most under a labour administration, which suggests a bit of a lack of sympathy for the local economy and the mostly working class families that used to use them.

    Peter with the climate change issue it really isn’t easy for scientists to be definitive about it being definitely man made, the best consensus at the moment suggests that it is.

    The problem however is that if it is and we don’t act now to reduce emissions we are most likely looking at a planet life of 80 to 100 years.

    So it really is a case of you have the stark choice either act now and you extend the life of the planet or be found to be wrong or you do nothing and the planet dies or you are proved right.

    It’s a bit like going to the doctor and being told that eating nuts is likely to kill you in the next five years, but as the doctor says this may be a wrong diagnosis you go on eating nuts all the same.

  8. Happy new year to you too Michael.

    The trouble is that any difference currently being made are so minor that they're unlikely to make much difference anyway, so I'd much rather the money was invested elsewhere (feeding the starving millions in other countries, finding cures for aids & cancer, etc).

    Of those who believe in this, how many are willing to make a REAL difference? For example: not having children; not driving cars; not commuting (& finding local less-paid work instead); holidaying at home; becoming a vegetarian; heck, even giving up washing machines & dryers & doing everything by hand??? Apart from (occasionally) eating meat I can at least apply ALL of this list to myself, so whether I believe in it or not I'm certainly playing my part.

  9. Peter/Mark,

    It would be easier to believe in Climate Change (being Man Made) if our government would a, 'Ring Fence' "green taxation" for general envoironmental purposes , and b, make public transport affordable, reliable, and accessable to all.

    At present it smells a little to collect all the 'Green taxes' and then to put the cash into central government coffers .

  10. Ken, I think this is why more & more people are becoming cynical, because so much money can be made from this (& there's at least some evidence of governments suppressing or removing funding from scientists that don't agree with them).

  11. Returning to the topic, I can say that some years ago I actually spent a day at Whitley Bay, looking forward to it as I had heard so much from friends in the north east about it. I was tremendously disappointed. It did not look like the picture above, and was not a pleasant experience.

    I hope something has changed. If it has, it may be because of the governments ongoing policy if greater investment in northern seats than elsewhere. Nothing to do with election jerrymandering I am sure.

    Whatever you believe about green tourism it requires, fundamentally, a huge investment of resources to make it work. The high speed train shows what can be done with investment to encourage change in an area. The issue here seems much more about the longevity of a tourist season. Do we really need beach huts as mini houses for a summer season? What other conflicts of semi permanent residence do such actions bring?

    It is an interesting ides, but one which requires a bit more thought than this post probably gives, and is beyond the climate change point alone.

  12. Is that the same 'high speed train' that Cllr. Wells's Conservative Party said they'd never fund but Labour did?

  13. Probably. If that is what was said, it was wrong!

  14. Sorry to make a political point, but the High speed Train (is it?) is being funded by the normal train user as central government continue to ct the central rail subsidy

  15. Yes, but who privatised the trains anyway? Not Labour who, at least, have taken back the East Coast line from the incompetent hands of Stagecoach who should stick to running a bus company.