HELP for coastal communities is being urged by Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon. Mr Cox has tabled questions in the House of Commons to Communities and Local Government Minister Hazel Blears, urging her to make good Government's pledges. Her d

HELP for coastal communities is being urged by Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon.Mr Cox has tabled questions in the House of Commons to Communities and Local Government Minister Hazel Blears, urging her to make good Government's pledges. Her department agreed in November to set up a working group to study the special factors relating to coastal towns and their seasonal economies. The MP says he is keen to ensure that the pressure is maintained and that the Government lives up to its promises.Following a dispute between the cross party Select Committee on Communities and Local Government and the Government regarding its casual response to their report, the department finally agreed in November 2007 to establish the working group to investigate the particular financial pressures facing coastal communities. Mr Cox said: "I want to find out exactly what has been done to create the working group and when it will start its work but I find it difficult to believe that the Government required arm-twisting even to recognise the existence of the problem of seasonal economies! It is notable that the ministerial team at DCLG represents almost exclusively northern, land-locked parliamentary constituencies. Perhaps, this explains the department's reluctance to acknowledge the need for action."He went on: "To measure further the concern of my constituents I have initiated a petition that gives local people the chance to call on the Government to safeguard the future of Torridge's coastal communities. I want to ensure a fair measure of public investment is set aside for coastal regeneration and a national planning and policy framework is put in place. This must give much greater emphasis on the genuine consultation of local communities and appropriately recognise the special character, value and vulnerability of coastal villages and towns. I would urge local people concerned about the future of our coastal towns to sign the petition and press the Government to tackle their concerns."The petition can be downloaded at www.geoffreycox.co.uk