Underground home is a flight of fantasy

IN reply to Ben O’Connell’s article ‘Underground house plan sparks new village protests’, Gazette, January 19.

Looking at the plans for the underground house right on the Beadnell village shoreline it is surprising that there are a couple of glaring omissions in the design of the proposed structure namely where is the periscope and where are the lifeboats?

Bearing in mind the proximity of this building to the sea, would planning authorities be given a guarantee that in the event of disaster the occupants of said construction would be evacuated strictly in accordance with the ‘Birkenhead Drill?’

Readers not familiar with such will be proud to learn that HMS Birkenhead was a British ship that sank of the coast of South Africa in 1852 under a certain Captain Salmond.

This duty-bound gentleman insisted that women and children would go into the lifeboats first and by his actions and that of his brave crew (most of whom who perished) enshrined a custom that has since become the gold standards for behaviour in disaster at sea.

Our economy may be up the creek, our youngsters may not easily find work and we may need a second mortgage to pay our gas bills, but by heck let none be in any doubt, we Brits know how to behave when the ship goes down.

It’s all due to our ingrained tradition with forming queues and our national tendency to ‘esprit de corps’ – or so I’m told.

Much of the rest of the world doesn’t behave like this you know.

In other places it’s every man for himself. A bit like the ongoing scramble to bag the coastline in Beadnell.

Bearing in mind we are talking here about an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and protected Heritage Coastline, why do the area north planners latch onto the most unlikely justifications to support inappropriate projects when they run counter to the welfare of the coastline?

May I suggest that in this instance when said planners are examining this application unlike Nelson at Trafalgar they place the telescope to their good eye?

This particular proposal, while clever in conception, is simply another example of attempted, inappropriate exploitation of our treasured village coastline.

It also suffers from the lack of an ‘exceptional case’ justification similar to the flight of fancy that Mr Wall dreamt up to get the planners on his side with his luxury houses.

Yes – even now, and in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he still maintains that Beadnell harbour (small in stature, facing west, holding little water for most of the time and mainly disturbed these days by the comings and going of the local lug worm population), needs a fortune to maintain it.

If the ‘underground house’ dug into a sand dune is to get favourable support from the powers-that-be, then the proposers would be well advised to come up with an ‘exceptional case.’

Such a case doesn’t have to make any kind of sense. It certainly needn’t be true.

Believability is not an issue and indeed the saltier the sea dog’s tale the better. Whatever imaginative fiction is conjured up it just needs to be said with conviction and a straight face.

Jim Norris,

Save Beanell Association