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.
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".
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.
"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.