A recent article in the Financial Times has recognised Lowestoft’s “strong identity” looking at how the coastal town has reinvented itself in the way of traditional maritime industries declining
For a lot of towns and cities across the UK the decline of primary industries in recent years has represented a challenge- in a lot of cases they were almost literally built around certain industries (coal, ship building etc). This has certainly been the case in Lowestoft and recently the Financial Times looked at how the town has adapted.
The future of Lowestoft’s identity seems to vary depending on who you speak to. For Associated British Ports they see it as a burgeoning area for alternative energy. Already this industry has provided jobs through a wind turbine business at the old fish market while fishing fleets get additional business by transporting workers to oilfields.
However there does seem to be a concern that this may not be enough. In marketing terms it needs something to stand out- as Penny Mordaunt (coastal communities minister) points out if “you’ve identified the unique selling point you can thrive.” In order to encourage the growth of the regional various regional partnerships and authorities have teamed up, creating a fund of £120m.
£67m of this fund has been spent thus far and Penny Mordaunt has pointed out examples of how this development can work such as a green power hub in the Tees Valley and an aerospace cluster in Newquay “They are not just creating jobs but something quite special, centres of excellence.”
She is keen to emphasise that there are great benefits in being based on the coast “We want to ensure that those unique positives about coastal are recognised and capitalised on.”
It is reasonable to ask whether or not this investment can result in the USP and identity that she wishes to see. Indeed some people would debate the merits of alternative energy and others may question whether it is possible for Lowestoft to sufficiently reinvent itself to tempt people away from cheap flights on all inclusive sunshine packages.
However it is fair to say that the effort is being made to push Lowestoft in a bolder direction, certainly enough to catch the attention of the Financial Times. Time will tell whether the effort and investment will make the difference but what is certain is that a concerted push is being made to get people talking about Lowestoft in a positive way and that is an excellent start towards establishing what people want and whether Lowestoft can offer it to people.