Harbour issue that refuses to go away

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STILL claiming that building multi-million-pound houses is the only way to maintain Beadnell Harbour, John Wall, secretary, Beadnell Harbour Fisherman’s Society, steadfastly refuses to listen to any other alternative.

“The harbour is sacrosanct,” he cries. “We must secure it for future generations.” Strange that, according to his own figures, the ‘future generations’ only last for 30 years.

“We have the support of the Craster family,” wails the secretary.

As Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfus) said in that memorable film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, “Who are these people? We need to know.”

The Save Beadnell Association has public support from Sir John’s niece. Any members of this erstwhile family who supposedly backed Mr Wall have been so notable by their absence that one can only assume they were whisked off in that big alien spaceship at the end of that classic movie.

“A working harbour needs to be dredged and maintained and we need to be left alone to get on with it,” he says.

Leave us alone to do what we like is the intelligent interpretation of these words.

Is this the same, tiny harbour that no local person you speak to can quite remember when it was last dredged?

Is it the same harbour that if and when dredging does take place, it does so without any licence as issued by the Maritime Management Organisation (MMO)? And has never had such a licence, as confirmed by them?

“But I’ve scaled my plans back to only three houses to appease the village,” he pleads.

No you haven’t. You were told by the planning department that five was unacceptable so you changed it to three, rather amusing how this transmogrified into “appeasing the village in response to public opinion”.

“As for the Save Beadnell Association, they have moved heaven and earth to thwart our plans,” he says.

To which one can only say in reply, it’s a pity we didn’t act sooner because we might have been able to save some of the valuable heritage that went under the digger when Mr Wall decided to clear part of the Haven in readiness for his houses.

Not to mention fencing off and diverting rights of way. And also not forgetting the vandalism carried out on the White Rock site which plays host to an ancient burial cyst.

“Without being asked or having any reason to do so they have produced a sustainability plan for the harbour,” he says.

How does Mr Wall square this statement with his comments to the local Northumberland press on Thursday, May 19, following rejection of his planning application and I quote: “At the end of the day, we still have the imperative to look after the harbour and no realistic alternative has been put forward. If we do get some constructive comments coming forward then we are happy to consider them.”

And now he says we are “contributing nothing to the debate” when we submit proposals that guarantee the future of both the harbour and the coastline.

Once again, Mr Wall has demonstrated, in newspaper print no less, that his irresponsible attitude is matched only but his arrogant demeanour and that his words are as trustworthy as a heatwave on Christmas day.

Time to pack it in, Mr Wall. Your goose is cooked and no one takes your seriously. Your reasons to build houses are groundless. Your arguments are fallacious, repetitive and obscure.

Your management of the harbour is disingenuous and illusory and your resistance to village greens illustrate your anti-village sentiments.

It is now time for you to sail off into the sunset. Plot a course as far away as you can. Stoke the boilers and make a full head of steam.

Please don’t look back. No one will be waving.

As soon as you are gone we will set in train the improvements to our heritage coastline that will enhance, rather than ruin our lovely village.

Jim Norris,

Save Beadnell Association