‘Putting insects before people’

A ROW has erupted in a north Northumberland seaside town over the removal of grass from a beach.

Audrey Jones, former mayor of Amble, is embroiled in a battle with the Warkworth Harbour Commissioners about taking away vegetation from Little Shore beach.

Mrs Jones says that she wants to get rid of the small triangle of grass growing along the side of the promenade so that people can sit on the sand and enjoy the coast.

But she has been stopped in her tracks, after the commissioners have said that the vegetation is important to the ecology of the area and should not be disturbed or removed.

They also say that when the grass was removed previously, nearby residents complained about sand blowing towards their homes.

This response has been met with dismay by Mrs Jones, of the town’s Ladbroke Street, who says she is disgusted at the commissioners’ findings, claiming they ‘cannot see beyond their noses’ and are putting ‘insects before people’.

An angry Mrs Jones, who has been doing beach cleans and litter picks for more than a decade, said: “The people of Amble only want a bit more Little Shore to take their families on to without having to sit on lime grass which cuts you and pierces you. It is very uncomfortable to sit on. The whole of the grass area is a total disgrace to the community of Amble.”

She said that children’s play and humanity should come before ecology and that the area has become ‘disgusting and an unhygienic dogs’ toilet’.

She claims that removing the grass would in fact stop sand blowing towards people’s properties.

She said: “Logically thinking, this is happening because the grass area next to the promenade is so high the sand blows off it straight up and over on to the grass in front of Bay View.”

Mrs Jones said that when the grass had been removed previously and the area was tidied, it brought many positive comments.

But Dr Paul Morrison, spokesperson for the commissioners, said that there were a number of reasons why the grass should stay and said there was still ‘plenty of beach’ for people to enjoy.

The commissioners had taken independent advice about the issue and were advised that the grass was a ‘good maritime mix’, there was nothing wrong with it being there and it was a ‘nice environmental area’.

He said that it was a ‘nonsense’ to think that sand would blow from the grassed area towards nearby homes as the grass binds the sand together and stabilises it.

He added that dog fouling was not a result of the grass, but a result of a few irresponsible dog owners who need educating.

The commissioners are grateful for the volunteer work that Mrs Jones has done in arranging the beach to be raked and are happy for this to continue.