Dear Mr Castle, I AM writing this letter partly in response to your request for comments and partly because I intended to respond to the article about the proposals by Amble Development Trust anyway.
Having lived in Amble only a few years I try not to be too critical as I am aware that many people have lived here all their lives. My wife's family are from Amble, however.
Firstly, I would like to point out that we joined Amble Development Trust in order, we thought, to be involved in the future of Amble, a place I now love and respect. We did know there were "ideas" in the pipeline which were being kept secret but the first we knew of any detail was the publication in the Gazette.
My initial reaction was shock and horror. If the development ended up looking like the picture it would spoil the very image which people enjoy about Amble – the peace and quiet, natural surroundings and fresh sea air. The pier has been a great success and blends in well. It draws people from all over the country and locals too enjoy the freedom to use it for recreation. We should continue to develop this type of attraction without spoiling the whole thing.
It is not necessary to create a "theme park" type image in order to attract more people. New age looking buildings would look totally out of place.
In answer to your question about local reaction I can truthfully say that I have spoken to numerous people who live in Amble and none of them would be in favour of the changes proposed. None of them have ever been asked what they want.
Some, like us, are members of Amble Development Trust but have not been consulted on these proposals. The simple truth is that some development is needed to improve what Amble has to offer. I will try to list the things that I have had suggested to me.
First, a touring caravan site. The nearest is Warkworth now that Amble Links don't take touring caravans or motor caravans. Touring caravans and motor caravans are as much an asset to an area as statics.
Secondly, a reasonable restaurant in the harbour area catering for families. I appreciate some businesses do already exist but they could be helped to expand or altered to cater for larger numbers etc.
Thirdly, a hotel would encourage others to come. These two ideas should be done in keeping with the local surroundings.
Lastly, a visitor centre but not some monster of a building which is a blot on the landscape but a functional one which blends in. Another idea is a ferry linking the North side with Amble, perhaps in the summer months, for pedestrians and cyclists for whom the existing cycle route should be upgraded and signed.
The remainder of the comments really are common sense: Finish off the Little Shore area with railings along the path across the top of the beach; provision of more seats; upgraded toilets with longer opening hours; street lighting in that area and on the path leading to the breakwater; more litter bins and dog bins.
To sum up Amble has become known as "The Friendly Port" and I have found this to be true.
A facelift without being extreme is what is needed. Retain the character of the place and it will "sell" itself.
Name and address supplied