Some progress made after heated leisure-area talks

Amble Paddling Pool
Amble Paddling Pool

It opened with a First World War-themed rallying cry. The iconic picture of Lord Kitchener alongside the words ‘Amble’s Welfare and paddling pools needs you’ kick-started a passionate public meeting in the town on Monday.

The forum, at the Fourways 2 building, was organised by businessman Bruce Durham to discuss concerns over the state of sport and leisure areas in the town.

The locations at the heart of the debate were the Welfare, which is plagued by overgrown grass, and the Paddlers, which is home to two disused paddling pools.

It was standing-room only as residents packed into the meeting, which was also attended by members of Amble Town Council, the development trust and Northumberland County Council.

The state of the Paddlers area, owned by the county council, has long been a source of complaint for its appearance and derelict state.

But the meeting heard that action is being taken to transform the site.

Concept ideas, which have been put together by consultants working on behalf of the town council, went on display on Monday and residents have been urged to give their feedback on the plans.

The town council has a meeting planned with the county council in September to discuss ideas for the Paddlers and explore funding avenues, as it will cost in the region of £500,000 to progress the scheme.

The aim is to create a facility which can be used by people of all ages and all through the year.

The plans are currently on show in the Fourways 2 building, on Dilston Terrace, and comment cards are available.

The most heated part of the night related to the Welfare, which has been owned by Amble Development Trust for the last eight years.

Julia Aston, of the Trust, said that grass cutting had not taken place recently because the organisation did not have funds for maintenance work.

The group is waiting to receive cash from the Persimmon Homes development at Marks Bridge, and the meeting was told that these funds are imminent.

The town council said it had paid for two cuts at the Welfare last year and would discuss the issue of future grass cuts at an upcoming meeting,

The need for community co-operation was also emphasised at the meeting.

And afterwards, the Amble at Heart Action Group was formed by Mr Durham.

He said that community-based events would take place to try to tackle issues in the town.

He added: “We want to make sure that all decisions made for Amble are made with Amble’s best interests at heart and we want to forge co-operation with other groups.”