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ONS Report on Coastal Towns in England and Wales – 6 October 2020

Louise Matthews of Perceptions has published a resume of this report.

On the October 6th 2020, the Office for National Statistics released their report providing data and analysis on seaside and other coastal towns in England and Wales.

Whilst the report is interesting it doesn’t make any shocking revelations.  It does confirm that large seaside towns, such as Weymouth and Bournemouth, have been fortunate in that we have experienced lower rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths during 2020 than non-coastal towns, good news when you consider the influx of visitors over the summer period to the Dorset coast.

It goes on to report that Seaside towns have higher levels of self-employment and part-time employment than non-coastal towns, coupled with a lower share of residents with degree-level qualifications.  They also benefit from lower crime levels despite having higher levels of deprivation, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of coastal towns, 71%, showed slower employment and population growth in the 10-year period to 2018 than non-coastal towns.

In the same 10 year period 51% of large seaside towns showed a decline in employment, they fared better than non-seaside coastal towns but overall, coastal towns generally struggled to grow employment which has to be a concern at this time with so many business struggling with COVID restrictions especially the new 10pm curfew, recently imposed.

A report in the Retail Gazette shows Coastal towns saw the greatest decline in footfall due to the curfew, a drop of nearly 11% in the past week, due to the prevalence of hospitality outlets in these Towns.  New data analysing card payment data across the UK released by Paymentsense and reported on in Hospitality & Catering News, shows that on the first day of the curfew, UK card transactions in restaurants, bars and pubs across the country fell by 16% and overall sales by 13% based on the previous week’s data.

Interestingly the ONS Report uses some data, analysed by WordPop at the University of Southampton, from the Facebook App using their location services which revealed a significant increase in population density in coastal and seaside towns during July and August – no surprises there then!

The full report can be downloaded from

Paul Appleby
Author: Paul Appleby