DCSIMG

Rocky ride for supermarket bid

OBJECTIONS are mounting over a proposed development on Amble Braid, despite general support that the community needs a new supermarket.

The Duke of Northumberland's plans for the 30,000 sq ft retail outlet, together with more than 200 car parking spaces, a new access road and 49 houses, are currently lodged with Alnwick District Council.

But a growing number of residents in the seaside town are worried about the potential environmental impact on the sensitive site, which sits next to the River Coquet near Amble Marina.

They say the development would displace wildlife and impose a large industrial and residential presence on what is currently an open tract of land that is prone to flooding.

And some say the local industrial estate would be a far better choice for such a development.

One resident caught up in the dilemma is retired property consultant Roger Armsden, 60, who lives at Rivergreen.

"Few people would deny that Amble needs a new supermarket," he said. "The Co-op has had a monopoly for far too long, but is a supermarket on land adjacent to the Braid really the best solution?

"The ever-increasing number of objections in the file at the council offices indicates that many people in Amble are totally opposed to it and think a better solution lies elsewhere.

"It is clear from the letters written to Alnwick District Council that many people favour a supermarket on Amble's industrial estate, which is under-used, only a short distance from the town centre and already has the existing road and services infrastructure.

"The main reason why so many people are against Northumberland Estates' proposal is that it involves putting in a new access road across the Braid, a much-loved and 'well-used, managed and maintained open space', to quote from NE's own submission.

"Even NE's own Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment report admits that such a road would have a 'major adverse effect' on the Braid, so it's hardly surprising that a growing number of people are supporting the recent planning application to turn the Braid into a town green, which would protect it from development."

And he added: "There are clearly a number of important issues to be discussed and resolved, so the sensible thing would seem for sufficient time to be given for proper public debate on the whole idea of a new supermarket in Amble and where to put it."

But Colin Barnes, director of planning at Northumberland Estates, said: "The public has been fully involved in the application and at the exhibition we staged in Amble last year it was abundantly clear that there was overwhelming local support for our plans.

"We don't intend to delay the application, and it will need to be decided by the council.

"The need for a new store in Amble is now, not in a few years."

Mr Armsden, however, doesn't agree with the Estates' view.

"In their submission, Northumberland Estates claim there is 'massive local support' for their proposed development, but this is based on just 134 people out of a claimed 300 people who attended the public exhibition last year," he said.

"That's hardly massive, nor is it in any way a fully representative sample from a town with a population of more than 5,000 people."

“The Co-op has had a monopoly for far too long, but is a supermarket on land adjacent to the Braid really the best solution?

“The ever-increasing number of objections in the file at the council offices indicates that many people in Amble are totally opposed to it and think a better solution lies elsewhere.

“It is clear from the letters written to Alnwick District Council that many people favour a supermarket on Amble’s industrial estate, which is under-used, only a short distance from the town centre and already has the existing road and services infrastructure.

“The main reason why so many people are against Northumberland Estates’ proposal is that it involves putting in a new access road across the Braid, a much-loved and ‘well-used, managed and maintained open space’, to quote from NE’s own submission.

“Even NE’s own Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment report admits that such a road would have a ‘major adverse effect’ on the Braid, so it’s hardly surprising that a growing number of people are supporting the recent planning application to turn the Braid into a town green, which would protect it from development.”

And he added: “There are clearly a number of important issues to be discussed and resolved, so the sensible thing would seem for sufficient time to be given for proper public debate on the whole idea of a new supermarket in Amble and where to put it.”

But Colin Barnes, director of planning at Northumberland Estates, said: “The public has been fully involved in the application and at the exhibition we staged in Amble last year it was abundantly clear that there was overwhelming local support for our plans.

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“We don’t intend to delay the application, and it will need to be decided by the council.

“The need for a new store in Amble is now, not in a few years.”

Mr Armsden, however, doesn’t agree with the Estates’ view.

“In their submission, Northumberland Estates claim there is ‘massive local support’ for their proposed development, but this is based on just 134 people out of a claimed 300 people who attended the public exhibition last year,” he said.

“That’s hardly massive, nor is it in any way a fully representative sample from a town with a population of more than 5,000 people.”

 
 
 

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