First look at £16 million plans for new apartment blocks in Northumberland seaside town

Plans have been lodged for a £16 million redevelopment of Amble boatyard.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 17th September 2021, 7:00 am

Coble Marina wants to build four apartment blocks to provide 54 flats and duplexes, mirroring the existing development at Coble Quay.

The proposal scheme would involve the demolition of the existing boat shed and a range of ancillary buildings.

Sid Scott of Coble Marina said: “We are a North East based company that has developed a number of sites throughout the region.

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Four apartment blocks are proposed on the site of Amble boat yard. Credit: Mario Minchella Architects

"Amble is a particularly popular area at the moment and we feel there is a demand for high quality, modern accommodation.

"The boat yard site is a previously-developed site near the town centre and is therefore a highly sustainable location for new housing.

"We have engaged with officers at the local authority who have been positive about our proposals.

"If approved there would be other benefits for the local area including a payment towards the provision of affordable housing, other payments including ecological mitigation and the delivery of public art via a central feature on the proposed car park.

How the proposed scheme at Amble harbour could look. Credit: Mario Minchella Architects

"Overall, we feel the proposals are of benefit to the site and local area.”

The proposed scheme also includes a 65-bay car park.

However, there have been 27 letters of objection from local residents raising concerns about the visual impact and fears that they would be holiday homes for the well-heeled.

Alan Trainor of Turner Street says: ‘It won’t be long till Amble starts looking like Miami.’

Amble boat yard and Coble Quay.

George Carnegie of The Wynd comments: ‘The proposal looks more like a converted warehouse from Amsterdam.’

Andrea Hewitson of Brinkburn Place writes: ‘Our families are being priced out of their home town because of the holiday home situation. We need affordable housing for local residents.’

And Elizabeth Featherstone adds: ‘I want Amble to continue to be a friendly, local town with a strong community spirit – not a town which becomes a ghost town in the winter and an overpriced, crowded holiday resort in the summer.’

A planning report accompanying the application acknowledges the importance of the former brickworks site in Amble’s historic context and its prominent position which means the proposed new buildings would be highly visible.

The existing Coble Quay development. Picture by Jane Coltman

‘The most notable building is a very large, tall blue building that is used as a workshop and storage facility for boats,’ states the report. ‘Some might argue that the building is unsightly and has a negative impact on the overall street scene. All of the existing buildings on the site would be cleared to make way for a modern and visually interesting streetscape.

‘The applicant is keen to design buildings that are fitting of the 21st century rather than copying historic architectural styles. The proposal is therefore contemporary in all respects.

‘The buildings proposed would be similar in scale and height to existing buildings on the site and are designed to have a natural ‘linkage’ with existing development nearby.

‘Whilst the buildings proposed would be visually prominent in terms of short distance views and also long distant views towards Warkworth, this must be balanced against the current buildings on the site and significant buildings to the west.

‘It is considered that large buildings are acceptable, if they are carefully designed and well related to their setting. Buildings do not need to be hidden away, they should be celebrated.’

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