BRIDLINGTON’S fishing industry can breathe a sigh of relief after harbour development plans were taken out of the AAP, according to the chairman of the Harbour Commissioners.
George Traves, chairman of the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners, welcomed inspector Sian Worden’s report on the Area Action Plan which ordered that East Riding of Yorkshire council shelve its plans to build a hotel, multi-storey car park, retail and residential property at the west end of the harbour, known as the harbour top.
The Commissioners had long argued that the development would take away vital operational land and risk decimating the thriving local fishing industry - and were ready to launch a high court appeal if the plans had not been refused by the inspector.
Mr Traves said: “I believe I speak for everyone involved with Bridlington’s fishing industry when I say we are absolutely elated by the decision of the Communities and Local Government Inspector, Sian Worden, to remove the west end of the harbour from the Burlington Parade development plan.
“We have always argued robustly that the Bridlington Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP) was flawed in its original form and would cause wanton and needless destruction to one of the most lucrative industries in the town, not to mention the activity the town was built upon.”
The Harbour Commissioners were represented by a QC at two public hearings into the AAP, called by Ms Worden, - with the Commissioners’ legal costs adding up to around £100,000.
“Thankfully, after a long, costly and at times testing campaign, the strength of our argument has won through and common sense has prevailed. The harbour will now remain fully operational during the redevelopment of Bridlington, and will continue to provide vital employment and revenue that the local economy would have been deprived of without this much needed modification,” continued Mr Traves.
“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my heart-felt thanks to everyone who has worked with us and supported us throughout our campaign and helped to achieve this fantastic result. And I am delighted that for the first time in several years the town’s fishermen and women can be confident their industry has a strong future in Bridlington for many years to come.”
However John Lister, head of the Bridlington Renaissance team, said that “it was not true to say that the development would have pushed the fishing industry out.”
He said: “It was always intended that the development would be used by the fishermen until a marina was built. In fact the Jacobs Report showed that the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners would be up to £100,000 a year better off.”
The Harbour Commissioners will now press ahead with their “top priority” of developing a new lobster hatchery on the harbour, and will look to extend their in-harbour pontoon scheme.
Pontoons which can provide berths for up to 77 vessels were officially opened earlier this year, and Mr Traves said the Commissioners were looking to either extend on to the existing pontoons, or create a similar development on the north side of the harbour, to create even more berths.