Concerns raised over Spanish Battery cycle hub plans

Members of the Friends of the Spanish Battery outside North Tyneside Council, with Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, Coun Sarah Day and Friends chairman Bill Corrigan. Picture by Mark Husmann
Members of the Friends of the Spanish Battery outside North Tyneside Council, with Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, Coun Sarah Day and Friends chairman Bill Corrigan. Picture by Mark Husmann

Concerns have been raised over plans to build a cycle hub at the Spanish Battery in Tynemouth.

North Tyneside Council’s environmental health pollution team raised a series of concerns around noise from the leisure scheme, proposed near homes at the site.

The planning application was submitted by The Watch House Garden Project, in the hope of building a cycle hub with leisure facilities, which include a cafe or restaurant, a shop, rooftop garden and outdoor terrace, at the headland.

The team has recommended refusal, as a consultee, to the plans but the application is still pending consideration and no recommendation has yet been made by officers.

It comes as a protest petition with more than 3,000 names was delivered to the council.

Bill Corrigan, chairman of Friends of the Spanish Battery, which is spearheading the protest campaign, said: “This reinforces what we have been saying all along, that this development will lead to noise and disturbance and should be rejected.

“We are not anti-cyclist but the Spanish Battery is the wrong place for a cycle hub and a suitable location needs to be found.”

The statement from environmental health (pollution) highlights concerns about disturbance from noise for people living in the nearby Old Coastguard Cottages.

Concerns include noise from plant and equipment, the car park, cycles being unloaded from bike racks, from customers, particularly smokers gathering outside late at night, and from people exercising in proposed boot camps.

The report also raises concerns about the level of ventilation needed for the kitchen and says that if, as the plan suggests, the restaurant caters up to 120 people, and takeaways are provided, it would require a high level of odour control.

But Gareth Reece, from The Watch House Garden Project, said that these concerns are ‘by no means a determination’ and are ‘simply an initial advisory statement as a consultee’.

He said this allows the developer to negotiate concerns, such as the strict 9pm closing time all year round which they introduced in response to noise concerns.

Gareth added: “We would hope that the concern over people congregating late at night will be mitigated by the reduced operating hours.

“Bike racks will be below garden level. Any cycle noise as mentioned will be absorbed by the retaining wall, planted shrubs and grassed roof.

“We continue to be blown away by the huge amount of support that we have and daily offers of assistance.

“We would urge the general public to look through the hyperbole and consider this opportunity based on the facts.”

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, who joined campaigners handing over the petition, said: “This is green open space, part of Tynemouth’s history, much loved by visitors and residents alike. Take away a quiet open space and you cannot easily put it back.”