Can Withernsea rediscover its glory days?
IT IS a tale of two eras for Withernsea.
During its Victorian heyday thousands of people flocked to the town for their holidays and trade was booming.
However, the picture couldn't be much different on a chilly October half-term, as businesses fight against a "cycle of decline".
The place is desolate, with barely a handful of people milling around.
12 Ultrasound Fat loss treatments for the price of 6 with this...View details
Receive 12 Ultrasound Fat Loss treatments for the price of 6 with this voucher and experience the benefits of this revolutionary treatment at Sound Physique, Beverley clinic.
Terms: Strictly 1 voucher per person
Contact: 01482 861646
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Hardly anyone is using the amusements or walking along the beach.
It is a classic image of a seaside town with its glory days long behind it.
Tony Sunshine, 47, works behind the bar at The Pier Hotel in Seaside Road.
"It's as dead as a dodo," he says. "There has been a lack of investment in the town and now there is nothing to do and no reason to come.
"The town is full of tuck and charity shops. We also need to improve transport access."
A number of reasons for the sad decline have been put forward.
The oldest generation say the tourism industry went when the town lost its train service in the mid-1960s.
Others put it down to the later loss of a thriving market.
Bill Haycock, 50, who runs Beaches Cafe, has lived in the resort all his life.
"The problem is the fact that everyone has got a car and can travel further afield," he says.
"Twenty or 30 years ago the town was full of holidaymakers and there were regular buses full of people going back and forth. Now there is nothing really to attract them to Withernsea.
"There have been quite a few silly mistakes over the years.
"The promenade wall is too high so children can't see out to sea. The benches on the seafront look out to the houses rather than out to the sea.
"There is also a lack of parking and no nighttime attractions."
East Riding Council has long identified Withernsea as a town in need of regeneration.
In a bid to change its fortunes the council has announced plans to upgrade run-down streets in the five hotspot areas of the town with a £1m loan scheme.
Under the project, homeowners and landlords will be offered low- cost loans to improve their properties.
Residents hope it will not be too little, too late.
Mr Haycock says: "The investment has been a long time coming.
"Every other seaside area seems to have had a lot more investments in the past than Withernsea."
Sarah Barnett, 25, a QA & Compliance Officer at Southern Holderness Resource Centre, believes the £1m could be better spent.
"There are better things to spend the money on than making houses pretty," she says.
"Withernsea is a ghost town. We need to get the closed shops open and create a bit of employment in the town.
"There should also be a focus on some form of centre for young people in the town as well."
All is not lost though, and Paul Armstrong, chairman of the Withernsea and District Chamber of Trade, is among those who are positive about the town's future.
Withernsea currently boasts the Blue Flag award, for exceptionally clean waters, and is home to the famous inland lighthouse, now the home of the Lighthouse Museum.
And the home loans scheme is one of three investments in Withernsea by East Riding Council.
A £920,000 facelift for Queen Street includes new block-paved footways, resurfacing to the existing carriageway and new traffic signs, road marking and street furniture.
Last week the council also revealed plans to build a new £600,000 combined library and customer service centre in the town.
Subject to securing planning permission, the development will take place at the site of the existing library in Queen Street.
Mr Armstrong says: "Any investment from East Riding Council is welcomed with open arms.
"Looking at the picture nationally, I think Withernsea is doing OK and holding its own.
"We need to capitalise on what we already have on offer.
"We are a Victorian seaside town. We need to develop the town as a water sports area, offering visitors the chance to sail and jet ski. We could do with a marina.
"It isn't all doom and gloom. If people get out of bed and knuckle down, potentially we can improve the town for the future."