Protest against council held in Bridlington

Tax Payers Alliance protest over council's handling of Area Action Plan at Bridlington Town Hall. (PA1318-19a)

Tax Payers Alliance protest over council's handling of Area Action Plan at Bridlington Town Hall. (PA1318-19a)

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Protestors gathered at the town hall on Saturday angry over East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s handling of regeneration plans for Bridlington.

Around 75 people took to the streets to voice their concerns over how the authority has dealt with regeneration plans so far, after supermarket giant pulled out of moving to a new, larger store last month.

Critics say that Tesco’s decision not to move to Hilderthorpe Road coach park - which would have freed up development land for the Bridlington Area Action Plan - casts serious doubts over the £200m proposals.

Former East Riding councillor Geoff Pickering, who helped set up the protest, said: “This was our way to get people together, to hear about concerns and frustrations, and start to put a campaign together to hold those people to account who have been responsible for this mess.

“There has never been a Plan B after Tesco pulled out, and we haven’t heard anything since the announcement that says otherwise.

“People were frustrated, and they were worried that the council would not listen to their concerns anyway. We have to shake off that inertia and get answers on what has happened to the town while these regeneration plans have been worked on.”

Organisers have now set up a campaign, ‘Justice for Brid’, and attracted 500 members to a Facebook group within hours.

A meeting is set to be held at XXXXX on XXXXX where further discussions will take place.

Coun Pickering continued: “It was a good start and we have started to get the message out there now. We won’t go away.”

Andrew Allison, grassroots co-ordinator for the Tax Payers’ Alliance, helped organise the ‘Justice for Brid’ protest, and said: “People who attended were keen to do more and I believe we’ve got a strong core of people together now who want to see change.

“We will be having a meeting as to where we want to go next, because the responses so far from council officers have not been satisfactory.

“I walked around the area of Hilderthorpe Road and Palace Avenue last week and I was shocked. The council say that buying up the houses and leavbing them empty around there was just part of the planning policy, but now it looks like they will have to be demolished for no reason. That’s not a policy, that’s promoting decline and it just doesn’t wash.”

Despite the criticism, Alan Menzies, director of at East Riding of Yorkshire Council was bullish about the town’s regeneration prospects when speaking to the Free Press last week, saying that other parts of the AAP could be carried out while negotiations over bringing retail to the coach park continued.

He said: “There have been discussions going on with other people besides Tesco, around half a dozen.

“It’s not just been negotiation with one company. It’s unfair to say who the others are, but there have been discussions before Tesco made their decision.

“We are as committed as we ever have been to delivering regeneration in Bridlington.

“The AAP is a much larger plan than simply negotiating with Tesco. It is a planning policy document that takes time to develop, and while I understand that businesses and residents are disappointed and impatient for regeneration to begin, we will not take shortcuts.”