Support for major town-overhaul plans

An impression of the plans for Amble harbour.
An impression of the plans for Amble harbour.

Ambitious plans for a major transformation of Amble, based around its fishing heritage, have been welcomed, with one fan branding the idea ‘good for the town’ .

Last week, the Gazette reported that a scheme has been drawn up to establish a unique selling point for Amble as the seafood town: The authentic place to sample fresh, locally-caught fish.

The project includes the creation of a Harbour Village, comprising a Seafood Centre and training academy, as well as space for 15 incubator units accommodating small start-up businesses.

Other aspects of the application, which has been submitted to Northumberland County Council’s planning department, includes an enhanced connection between the Harbour Village, quayside and Town Square, and the relocation of the Coquet Shorebase Trust (CSBT) to a new home on The Braid.

It would lead to job creation and it is estimated that visitor numbers would increase and the local economy would be boosted.

Amble’s deputy mayor, Jane Dargue, said: “I think it is something that will be great for Amble and it is really positive and it couldn’t come at a better time.”

The scheme has been developed by the county council in partnership with Amble Development Trust, in consultation with Warkworth Harbour Commissioners, Amble Boat Company and the CSBT. It follows the report Amble: The Seafood Town, prepared by Team Tourism Consulting.

Development Trust director, Julia Aston, said that Amble’s 2020 plans – a regeneration strategy – along with the closure of the former Northumberland Foods factory on Coquet Enterprise Park, had been the catalyst for the Harbour Village concept, which was the first step forward for the wider 2020 vision.

She said: “Hopefully it will boost tourism numbers and the incubator units will give a starting point for small businesses.

“I think it is important for Amble to market itself as a tourism destination.”

Both the Seafood Centre and the incubator units will complement The Old Boat House restaurant – which serves seafood – on the corner of the site.

Chef Richard Sim, who opened the eatery along with cook Martin Charlton, backed the idea.

“I am over the moon with the plans,” he said. “I think it is great. It will help raise awareness of the town and help the fishermen.”

A number of Amble residents told the Gazette that they were in favour. Pat Forester said: “I think it is good for Amble. It would bring people into the town and add to the town.”

As part of the transformation of the area, a separate plan has been approved by the county council under delegated powers for major work in and around Amble Marina. The plans, by Amble Marina Limited, include the construction of 10 timber holiday chalets, extension of the marina building and renovation of the Coquet Street car park.