Re: Earth shelter appeal

The site of the proposed earth shelter in Beadnell. Ref: JCNG 240614site 2
The site of the proposed earth shelter in Beadnell. Ref: JCNG 240614site 2
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Not only is it disappointing to hear of the Rankens’ appeal with regard to their failed application of last June, but it is also quite amazing and indeed unbelievable that they are to resurrect this unfitting ‘submarine in the sand’ proposal.

It is surely immensely sad that not only do they have a total disregard for all existing planning regulations, that they so abysmally failed to meet in their initial application, but their consideration of local public opinion, environmental damage, coastal change and flooding issues and opposition from bodies ranging from The National Trust through to the management of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and many more, are of no consequence to them.

By this action, they demonstrate that their selfish desire to erect a totally inappropriate structure in an area which has more protection in place than probably anywhere else in Britain is at best misplaced and at worst foolish in the extreme.

At the planning meeting of last year, which overwhelmingly rejected their application, it was pointed out that in addition to all other issues, the proposed building was in an acknowledged flood risk area and that it was within Northumberland County Council’s shoreline management plan. This plan states that ‘development must be controlled on the seaward side of Harbour Road’.

Also, the present Government wishes to prevent any new development from being put at risk from coastal change by avoiding development in these areas. Any new development that entails the building of sea defences is considered unacceptable, and this development involves the building of massive defences.

It’s not as if the applicants don’t know all this of course. Would you believe that in their initial application they made provision for a ‘flood evacution plan’?

Even they, presumably, would want some emergency means of escape in the event of a sudden and overwhelming deluge.

The North Sea can be a killer and this was highlighted at the decisive planning meeting.

In 1953, in a terrible winter storm, 800 miles of British coastline were devastated, 30,000 people evacuated from their homes, 24,000 properties seriously damaged and, sadly, 307 lives lost.

Let’s hope this plan is a beaut because being only metres away from the sea and virtually at sea level, it would as sure as heck need to be, if you pardon the pun, watertight. The disaster of 1953 seems a long time ago, but of course storms and floods throughout Britain have been a devastating and destructive fact this very winter.

In early December, the North Sea erupted with high tides and storm force winds and caused much damage along our coast. The North East shore would have suffered far more damage had the driving wind been from the east or north-east.

As it was, the wind was from the west/north-west, which mitigated any serious flood damage in Beadnell.

Nevertheless, even with a relatively favourable wind direction, the development site in question was buffeted by waves coming onto the land.

If Mother Nature had decided to blow this storm in from the sea, the dune they are trying to build under would no longer be there.

This month to date has seen awful flooding in the south and west of the country, so it seems to me to be a remarkable coincidence of bad and unfortunate timing that this appeal has been lodged at a time when not only is flooding and coastal change still in the public’s mind but that many people are still recovering from the terrible consequences of these recent storms.

This appeal is a waste of time and public money to boot.

Jim Norris,

Save Beadnell Association