A determined effort to find ways of transforming a much-criticised leisure area in a seaside town has been welcomed by Gazette readers.
Last month, we reported that Amble Town Council had commissioned experienced independent consultants to carry out an options analysis and feasibility study for The Paddlers.
It is hoped that once the report is received, there will be a clearer idea of how to enhance the area, which includes a playground, two disused pools and grassland, and is owned by Northumberland County Council.
The news has pleased readers who have left messages on our Facebook page and website.
Kerry Surtees added: “Re-new the pools and make us oldies relive our youth with our kids!
“Had fab times down there. There is nothing else in Amble for kids to do or go, so why not give it a good tidy up and see lots of families down there like they used to.”
Others welcomed a potential transformation, but suggested alternative options.
Gary Andrew Morrison Snr wrote: “Consultation with residents and children would be good. Turn it into an outdoor theatre and the rest as an outdoor gym for adults. Funding could come from the Lottery.”
Bill Brierley added: “It needs something, ask the people of Amble. On a sunny day it was packed. They were often full of debris, so not sure of having paddling pools again. But it is a great space for people to enjoy if done right.”
On our website, Ambleman questioned the need for experts, but added: “Many of us have great memories of summer afternoons with our kids at the Paddlers and would love them to be restored to their former glory.”
Any development would depend on funding.
Amble mayor Craig Weir said: “The idea is to have an attractive welcoming area with recreational facilities for all the family to enjoy which we hope will not have a massive future maintenance cost for our ratepayers.
“The first obligatory stage of this is a professional feasibility study and a completed report is expected later this month.
“We know people are passionate about the Paddlers, but also understand that restoration would be a tremendous financial burden on the town due to current safety standards.
“Hopefully there will be lots of ideas which, in discussion with the county council, we can then take to the next stage – a public consultation. We plan to hold this as part of the annual parish meeting in May.”