Ambitious scheme granted

The plans for Amble harbour.
The plans for Amble harbour.

Ambitious plans to create a Harbour Village in Amble, which would boost tourism, create jobs and build on the town’s fishing heritage, have been granted – but the £2.5million scheme now hinges on successful funding bids.

The project aims to establish a unique selling point for Amble as The Seafood Town and Coun John Taylor, chairman of the north area planning committee, believes it will transform Amble commercially and financially.

The Harbour Village would be built on the eastern side of Amble Marina and would comprise 15 incubator units for start-up businesses, a Seafood Centre with working space for wholesale fish distribution and a training academy.

The scheme includes the relocation of the Coquet Shorebase Trust (CSBT) to new premises on The Braid, west of Amble Boat Club/Coquet Yacht Club, enabling clearance of the existing CSBT site for future redevelopment.

A re-organisation of the streetscape at the junction of Lawson Street and Leazes Street is planned to provide an enhanced connection between the Harbour Village, quayside and Town Square.

A new waterside promenade linking the harbour, marina area and The Braid will be created.

The plan had been recommended for approval by officers, subject to conditions, and members voted unanimously in favour.

Coun Trevor Thorne said: “This is a very dynamic application and it is very exciting for Amble. It would bring much-needed jobs, visitors and business to this location. This is very good for Amble.”

The project has been drawn up by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Amble Development Trust, Amble Town Council, business representatives and the wider community. It comes in response to the report Amble: The Seafood Town, prepared by Team Tourism Consulting. In the short-term, nearly 40 full-time jobs would be created.

It is anticipated that positions within local fishing fleets would be safeguarded, plus other longer-term employment benefits. It is also planned to create a seafood broker post and establish a Harbour Village market co-ordinator.

Through the development of the Harbour Village, it is estimated an additional 20,000 visitors would come to Amble over the first two years and the local economy would receive a boost of nearly £1.2million during this time. Training workshops would be delivered by the Seafood Training Academy.

The scheme is now subject of a £1.8million bid to the Coastal Communities Fund, as well as a £265,000 request to the European Fisheries Fund

The shortfall will be made up by other sources.

Julia Aston, development trust director, said: “We are pleased that the recommendation went through. We keep our fingers crossed that we are successful with the funding.”