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Gerald Vernon-Jackson defends Southsea as 'better than Lymington' after Which? Magazine survey

A TOWN described in a survey as one of the worst coastal spots in the country is "better than Lymington", according to its council leader.

Former Lymington councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who grew up in the town and whose late mother Jean Vernon-Jackson won an MBE for her services to its people, has defended his claims.

Lymington polled higher than Southsea in a study by consumer magazine Which? that asked its members to rate coastal destinations based on their beaches, attractions, value for money, peace and quiet, and scenery.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson has been unkind about Lymington, despite hailing from the town
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson has been unkind about Lymington, despite hailing from the town

Southsea was 12th from the bottom, with a 65% overall rating – lower than Barton’s 67% – and 45 places below Lymington, which achieved 75%.

When asked to account for the ranking by Portsmouth News, Cllr Vernon-Jackson – the current leader of Portsmouth City Council – was quoted as saying: "Southsea is much better than Lymington in so many ways, so I think whoever filled in the survey got it very wrong."

Challenged by the A&T on whether he felt like recanting, Cllr Vernon-Jackson stuck to his guns, saying he had found the Which? findings "bizarre".

Southsea Pier
Southsea Pier

The Vernon-Jackson family have big connections to Lymington; Gerald’s grandparents Robert and Dorothy Hole were raised in the town and founded its community centre.

His mother Jean helped start the St Barbe Museum, was a governor at Lymington Junior and Priestlands Schools and in 2010 was made an honorary burgess of Lymington.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson clarified: "Both Lymington and Southsea are great places, but they are just very different.

The Cobbles – Quay Hill, Lymington
The Cobbles – Quay Hill, Lymington

"Partly, as I get older I get worried about being in a rural area and being dependent on having to drive a car. Portsmouth has a really good bus service and if I wasn’t able to drive I could still access all the things that I want to access."

Cllr Vernon-Jackson continued: "I love Lymington; it’s the place I grew up. But I bought a four-bedroom house in Southsea five minutes’ walk from the beach for what I might be able to buy a two-bedroom house in Lymington.

"And I can walk to the theatres and to the cathedrals, and the street which we live on is really quite a lovely place to be."

Lymington and Pennington Town Council were unavailable for comment.

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