Beadnell’s village green bids will preserve our heritage coastline

THE Save Beadnell Association was set up in the spring of 2010 in response to the inappropriate development plans to build luxury houses on village coastal land. These plans were rejected by Northumberland County Council in May 2011.

The whole basis for the planning application was to safeguard the future of Beadnell harbour. Developers claimed that only by building houses could this be achieved.

They were not prepared to explore any other alternatives and heritage coastline was in danger of being lost forever.

Although this particular planning application has been defeated, until or unless the disputed areas of land are formally protected, they remain vulnerable to future planning applications.

We see this ongoing threat as being totally unsatisfactory for the village and its future.

The Save Beadnell Association has, all along, maintained that the harbour could be managed to turn a budget surplus on a year-by-year basis.

We have now finalised our work on how this can be achieved and have produced a report entitled Beadnell Harbour Sustainability Plan.

Copies of this document have been sent to the fisherman’s society. We have yet to receive a response. It is available to view on our recently-created website: https://sites.google.com/site/savebeadnellassociation/

The sustainability plan comprehensively answers the questions about future harbour maintenance and, as this was the sole justification for the Special Case reason to build, it should now lay this argument to rest once and for all.

The plan illustrates how an average budget deficit of £2,570 per annum for the last seven years (Beadnell Harbour Fishermen’s Society unaudited accounts) can be converted into an annual budget surplus averaging £2,744 from year 2012 to 2015.

The Save Beadnell Association wish to emphasise to the Fisherman’s Society that the implementation of our financial plans would safeguard both the harbour and the village coastline on a permanent and ongoing basis.

Village Green applications are currently under consideration with NCC and offer the tantalising prospect of providing the basis for the necessary protection of disputed, neglected but heritage-rich coastline.

This security would present the potential to utilise and improve these areas for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.

The developers and the BHFS are resisting these application and a hearing has been arranged by Northumberland County Council for the late November.

Legal representation will be employed by those supporting the Village Green applications.

It is an irony and a sad indictment of this whole dispute that the amount of money being spent by the developers (who see this as a business cost worth the risk) and those attempting to protect and conserve the village coastline (whose source of income is purely from individuals’ generous donations) together amounts to tens of thousands of pounds.

Like so many disputes, the costs involved are out of all proportion to the problem itself.

It is hard to believe that the stated reason for the original plans to build £5million plus houses was to cover a harbour budget shortfall of less than £2,800 per year.

It is even more astounding now that the Beadnell Harbour Fisherman’s Society accounts for 2010 have been released. They actually illustrate that their budget is now in balance.

Those of us who have been involved in this dispute at close quarters have witnessed sophistry and shenanigans, subterfuge entwined with evasion and the use of complex chicanery designed to bamboozle even the most sincere of adjudicators.

At the heart of this ancient and heritage-rich settlement lies a village coastline that must be preserved and entrusted for future generations.

Village Green status will provide for this and is essential if the designations Heritage Coastline and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are not just words on paper but moreover have a genuine, inviolable and recognisable credibility in the real and physical world of this beautiful part of rural Northumberland.

Jim Norris,

Save Beadnell Assocation