My last constituency event before the Commons returns after recess was presenting awards to the winners of the 10K Road Race. Thousands of runners took part in what must be one of the most picturesque races. How many road races pass a castle, a priory, a working fish quay, great beaches and finish at a lighthouse? The coast has been particularly busy in the last few weeks, signs of growing evidence that regeneration is taking shape.
About time some would say. Until twenty years ago in true British fashion, the economic decline in seaside towns, as holiday makers chose warmer destinations, was basically ignored.
The incoming Government had to be persuaded that investment was needed, hence Labour’s Sea Change programme, followed, to this Government's credit, by the Coastal Communities Fund. Government action alone was never likely to be enough which is why regeneration has been a partnership between the local authority, local communities and businesses.
It has also had to be regeneration for everyone, visitors and residents alike, including residents of other parts of the borough. It's a job not yet complete – for example, a few weeks ago I lobbied Minister on behalf of Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool to ensure funding was still there to bid for. But I genuinely believe there is a growing confidence judging by the number of local people and groups, getting involved and the quality of much of the investment.