Crucial harbour repair work due to begin next year

A major project to repair a flood-damaged north Northumberland harbour, costing more than half-a-million pounds, will finally go ahead.

The vital work is to begin in January in Amble and brings an end to a long-running saga, which stems back to when the structure was battered by the deluge in 2008.

The aim of the project is to stabilise the damaged quay and prevent collapse into the navigation channel.

Eighty metres of new quay will be provided for the berthing of six fishing vessels.

The quay will be resurfaced to improve access to vessels and concrete facing will improve berthing conditions and reduce the risk of damage to boats in bad weather.

It is also hoped that the repairs will increase the appeal of the harbour to tourists.

Harbour-master Simon Baxter said: “I am delighted that this work is to take place.

“The repairs will provide extra berthing facilities for fishermen and port users leading to increased revenue.

“The repairs to the surface of the quayside will allow unhindered access for both locals and visitors, enabling them to walk from one end of the harbour along the wooden South Jetty and around to the South Pier.

“It will also improve the aesthetic aspect of the quayside and harbour areas.”

Last year, the Marine Management Organisation’s (MMO’s) judging panel approved in principle an application for a grant of £275,000 through the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) Axis 3 scheme for the project.

To obtain the funds, Warkworth Harbour Commissioners then had to seek separately the necessary consents from the MMO’s marine licensing team.

The nod from the MMO was especially welcome after the commissioners had had numerous attempts for money turned down, including a previous application to the EFF Innovation Fund.

The six-figure sum covers around half the cost of the repair work, with the harbour commissioners also contributing to the scheme.

The work is due to be finished by March, weather permitting.

Dr Paul Morrison, spokesman for the commissioners, said: “Our feelings are a combination of delight and relief. We’re committed to the harbour and this will mean we will have a good, new harbour front in time for summer.”