Petition calling for Northumberland beach to be kept open closes in on 1,000 signatures

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition to prevent access to a Northumberland beach being restricted.

Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 2:38 pm

For the last three years, the National Trust has roped off a section of Beadnell Bay at the north side of the Long Nanny burn to protect nesting shorebirds.

However, some local residents say there is no evidence to justify the move and are calling on the National Trust to rethink its policy.

Dawn Holmes, owner of Beadnell Bay Caravan Park next to the National Trust site, said: “Not only is there strong opposition from our caravan park residents but also from the wider community who have walked this beach for decades.

Beadnell Bay.

"This is a small area we are asking them to keep open for access. The distance from the north side to the nest site is considerable and does not cause unnecessary disturbance to the birds.

“The feedback we have had to our petition is very positive and the strength of feeling against the National Trust’s actions is palpable.

"We intend to, at the very least raise the profile of this issue and hopefully reach a satisfactory outcome for all concerned. It’s perfectly achievable if all parties are prepared to listen to all sides of the argument.”

The petition has 967 signatures so far.

Each year a section of the coast between Beadnell and High Newton is roped off to protect the nesting grounds of several important breeding birds, including Arctic terns, little terns and ringed plover.

A National Trust spokesperson said: “As part of our ongoing conservation work to help legally protected Arctic terns and little terns, we ask people to follow a small diversion on Beadnell beach between May and July.

"This helps to minimise disturbance to the breeding colonies, which our rangers rope off and monitor closely for predators and high tides. During this time access is restricted, but the beach always remains open for all to enjoy.

“The National Trust has been caring for these birds on Beadnell beach for over 40 years. The efforts of our rangers, volunteers and those enjoying the beach have undoubtedly, over time, contributed to the survival of the little tern, the second rarest bird in the UK. This is something Northumberland can be proud of.”

Beadnell Parish Council has also called for consultation with the National Trust and Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership before the breeding season begins.

Cllr Michael Dawson said: “I don’t see any need to close the north side of the Long Nanny. To my knowledge little terns have never nested on the north side. They are also encouraging people to walk at the high water mark where you have nesting sand martins.

"I think the important thing for the AONB and the National Trust is to engage with people in a different way.”

Cllr Adrian Baker added: “I would like to think that before a decision is made on beach access for 2021 that there is some consultation with the parish councils of Newton and Beadnell. For them to go ahead when there have been so many ructions would be very wrong.”

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