Yorkshire coast town of Withernsea 'noticeably quieter' as cost of living crisis keeps tourists away, say locals
Withernsea is a town that moves with the seasons and people there are used to packed summers and quiet winters.
But the onset of the cost of living crisis has made people reliant on tourist spending worried, as they enter the off season after a quieter than usual summer.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to a local mum, a couple on holiday and the owner of a newly-opened cafe about the mood ahead of winter.
All of them said they had either cut back themselves or seen others reigning in their spending.
And with the cost of living crisis showing no sign of going away, the future is increasingly filled with foreboding for some.
‘It’ll be a bit of a struggle’
Local mum-of-three Zoe said the seaside town had made less during the summer, leaving people worried about money just as prices were rising for them too.
She said: “I live in Withernsea, everyone’s worried about money and the cost of living at the moment, especially ahead of Christmas.
“I work as a cleaner for a caravan site, winter’s a worry for me because the job’s so seasonal.
“I have three children so it’ll be a bit of a struggle.
“It was a lot quieter in summer this year compared to how it normally is, there weren’t as many tourists around.
“And things are getting more and more expensive for tourists and everyone else.
“I went to the chip shop recently because we haven’t had fish and chips for a long time, it was £10 just for two of us.
“Then there’s the pubs, we went recently and it was £9.50 for a couple of pints of beer.
“The prices are going to stop a lot of people from coming.
“If you just look at the high street here, everywhere’s closing down.
“There’s going to be big changes here, I think a lot of places will shut down during the winter, they’ll go out of business.
“The tourists pay the wages of the people who live here, so if we get less of them people make less.
“At one point Withernsea used to be amazing, but now we hardly see anyone at this time of year.
“There’s barely anyone around.”
‘We’re trying to spend even less’
Husband and wife David and Christine, on holiday from Lincolnshire for the first time in years, said the coast was noticeably quieter.
David said: “We’ve come from near Grantham in Lincolnshire, we’re on holiday in Bridlington and we’ve come down here for the day.
“We haven’t been on holiday for three or four years until now, we’ve come here before but it’s noticeably quieter now.
“We’re pensioners so we don’t tend to spend too much as it is, but we’re trying to spend even less now.
“We’re quite worried about the winter because our heater runs on diesel, so the heating’s gotten expensive for us since the fuel prices went up.
“We’ve not seen many other tourists around while we’ve been here, with it been out of season.
“The holiday was a last-minute idea, we just got fed up of being at home.
“We’re not planning on spending much in the pubs or shops though, we’re just having a stroll around.”
‘Money is an issue’
Jo, who recently took on the Sunshine Cafe near Withernsea seafront, said they had been busy since opening last week but she did not know how long it would last.
She said: “I used to work here and I took the cafe on from the previous owner, so I’m trying to make a go of it now.
“Money is an issue for people, I don’t know how bad things will be during winter because it’s the first time I’ve run a business, but it’ll be difficult.
“I have noticed it’s quieter at the moment for this time of year, there’s normally a few more people here still.
“I’ve noticed from going out to the pubs locally they’re quiet too.
“That’s been the case since coronavirus kicked in though so it’s nothing new.”