PLANS for Bridlington’s future regeneration could be “seriously at risk” – and even be rejected.
Sian Worden, the independent inspector charged with assessing the Area Action Plan (AAP), has said she has “significant concerns” about the plan’s soundness.
Her concerns are particularly about the development of the harbour top, and she could even call another public hearing to discuss them further.
Her response follows a four-day public hearing into the AAP, which she chaired at Bridlington Spa at the start of December.
She has now written to East Riding of Yorkshire Council listing 13 points she feels need further discussion.
In her letter to John Lister, head of Bridlington Renaissance, she states: “The soundness of the plan is seriously at risk” and the authority should consider “a contingency or fall-back position”.
During the hearing she heard objectors from Bridlington Harbour Commissioners, Bridlington Town Council and the Lords Feoffees, amongst others, about the council’s blue-print for the town’s future regeneration.
According to the inspector, despite “general support” for a marina from the Harbour Commissioners, plans to integrate the harbour top into the AAP’s Burlington Parade proposal – the flagship shopping street extending from a new Tesco at Hilderthorpe Coach Park down to and including the harbour top – could be deemed unsound.
That would be on the grounds that “the development of the essential operational land at the harbour top would adversely affect the operation and management of the harbour”.
During the public hearing, East Riding Council referred to retail studies which it claimed showed the need for the harbour top to be developed with shops, houses, a multi-storey car park – continued on Page 3
and a hotel.
But in her letter Ms Worden said there is as yet “no evidence of businesses/retailers who would only come to Burlington Parade if the harbour top were part of the scheme” and that “justification for its inclusion within the Burlington Parade scheme is not clear”.
Worries also remain that harbour development would not “preserve or enhance the character and appearance” of the north and south piers, which are listed buildings, and that “any harm would not be outweighed by the delivery of substantial public benefits”.
Ms Worden also claims in her letter that without robust evidence to support the development of the harbour top area, the flood risk to any homes or retail units would outweigh the benefits of building them.
While aware that negotiations between the council and other parties are still on-going, Ms Worden wrote that as things stand “the soundness of the plan is seriously at risk” – and suggested that the council consider a “contingency or fall back position” in which the harbour top would not be developed.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been given until January 20 to respond to the issues raised in the letter.