Fears over impact of government cuts on seaside towns like Cromer

Fears have been voiced over the potential impact on seaside towns from government cuts to coastguard and tourism facilities.

Euro MP Richard Howitt visited Cromer pier on Monday along with members of the Cromer Labour party to argue that government cuts are hitting seaside towns especially hard.

He spoke of the cuts to tourism organisation, Visit Britain, which is being forced to close its offices in 13 countries, the proposed cuts to coastguard stations, including the scrapping of the Yarmouth Coastguard, and a 30pc cut to the Broads Authority.

Mr Howitt said: 'Here in Cromer local people are working hard to try and promote this seaside destination with innovative ideas like the Crab and Lobster Festival deckchair art trail. Now they need support from the government. The promotion of tourism should be seen not as a cost but an investment.'

Speaking about the cuts to the coastguard stations he said there was a real fear such proposals could end up endangering people's lives.

Peter Crouch from the North Norfolk Green party said they also were against the cuts and one of the alternatives would be to cut down on corporate tax evasion.

Virginia Gay, leader of North Norfolk District Council and its Liberal Democrat group, said: 'I think with regards to tourism most people in North Norfolk would regard anything which would damage something which is a major industry for us as very regrettable.'

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Richard Ellis, chair of Norfolk Tourism, said their aim was to look on the positive side for tourism with events such as the London 2012 Olympics and Queen's Jubilee coming up. He said; 'Norfolk's tourism industry, both the public and private sector, must work together to make the most of the opportunities for the county's industry as interest in Norfolk is growing.'

Others have said work is being done to make sure no valuable services are lost.

Angie Fitch-Tillett, leader of the Conservative party on North Norfolk District Council, said: 'We are still delivering services but in a different way.' She pointed to the use of Coastwatch around the coast, a voluntary organisation keeping a visual watch along UK shores, and also in terms of tourism, the work of the North Norfolk Business Forum in helping promote businesses along the coast.

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