Very disappointing news, but at least the pier group has not wasted its time, as the time spent awaiting the slow appeal process was used to draw up new, revised plan, undertaking very extensive consultation across the area with the public and investors.
The comments from the Inspector were somewhat surprising, especially the comments about the new housing estate being built on the beach a few hundred yards from the pier. Given that these dozen houses are three storeys high, and have a current planning application in progress to increase the height of the roofline even further, the Planning Inspector’s comment about the beach housing was baffling to us:
“this building is positioned in a less prominent position within the private Shotley Marina on a substantial piece of land formerly used as a boatyard. I do not therefore consider this development to be comparable to the appeal scheme and neither am I of the view that it has significantly changed the open character and appearance of Queen Victoria Drive, as the appeal scheme would do.”
We are amazed by this comment, anyone who has been to the area since the beach housing estate commenced is welcome to draw their own conclusions about how the character of the area has been changed by the three-storey housing estate on the beach which isn’t even half way complete yet, and is very close to our pier.
Two important principles have been established by our lengthy period of consultation: Firstly and most importantly, there has been resounding support for being able to walk on the pier without paying to enter it.
Secondly, people repeatedly said they wanted to be able to take shelter on the pier to be able to enjoy it all year round. These two principles have shaped all our decisions. The need for visitor centre comes from this consultation.
Anyone who has an opinion, is welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org or come to one of our community events to meet our volunteer Directors and have a chat.