AFTER fifteen years of waiting, Bridlington finally looks set for multi-million pound regeneration after a planning inspector backed “ambitious” plans to reshape the town.
A report written by planning inspector Sian Worden has deemed East Riding council’s Area Action Plan to be sound and, subject to land sales, building work could begin in two years time.
The AAP will see up to £200m spent on the development of a new shopping district known as Burlington Parade, town centre car parking, a new public square and a remodelled Gypsey Race park - as well as a long awaited marina and around 1900 new jobs.
However, development of the west end of Bridlington Harbour, known as the harbour top, has been removed from the first stage of the plan after the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners argued that the development of a hotel, multi-storey car park, retail and residential property would remove valuable operational land and put the town’s fishing industry at substantial risk.
After hearing evidence from East Riding council, planning consultants, the Harbour Commissioners, Bridlington Town Council and other objectors at two public hearings held at the Spa, Ms Worden removed the harbour top plans from the Burlington Parade proposals - effectively asking the council to begin its redevelopment of the town centre before focussing on developing a marina.
In her report, Ms Worden acknowledged the AAP’s claims that a greater choice of restaurants, cafes, shops and a hotel would help Bridlington’s regeneration, but cast doubt on whether the harbour top would be the best place for them.
She said in the report: “It is my view that there is a strong possibility that development at the harbour top of the type and scale proposed in the AAP would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area (harbour).
“In the absence of justification for the harbour top development it is unlikely that any harm caused to the conservation area could be demonstrated to be necessary to achieve substantial public benefits.”
Elsewhere in the report, Ms Worden commended the AAP for the “ambitious, but not unreasonably so” strategy it puts in place for the town centre’s regeneration.
She was satisfied that the AAP’s strategy is well-researched and convincingly evidenced, is based on a clear and robust process of consultation and public involvement, and that its proposals have the local support needed.
Ms Worden also recommended that East Riding council insert a policy into the AAP to set out there should be a “presumption in favour of sustainable development.”
Now that the Area Action Plan has been deemed sound, Bridlington’s Renaissance team will now look to have the plan formally adopted by East Riding of Yorkshire Council sometime in early December, and after a standing period will submit a formal planning application early in the new year.
The AAP will provide:
l A new, larger Tesco store on the site of the coach park on Hilderthorpe Road.
l Comprehensive development of the major ‘Burlington Parade’ site which will extend the town centre’s retail offer along Hilderthorpe Road, providing around 25,000 square metres of new retail and leisure space and 400 new houses.
l Remodelling of the area around the historic Gypsey Race, opening up a walkway and park.
l A new town square around Bridge Street and Queen Street.
l More town centre car parking.
l A marina providing new facilities for the town’s working harbour and growing shellfish industry to the south of the existing south pier, along with much of the housing and commercial property already envisaged in the harbour top proposals.