BATTERY: State your intentions

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On behalf of the Friends of the Spanish Battery, I would like to thank everyone who supported the campaign to stop commercial development at the Spanish Battery in Tynemouth, now that an application to build a cycle hub and leisure outlet at this unspoiled and tranquil spot has been withdrawn.

The developers have so far been silent on whether they intend to come back with a revised planning application. We hope they will not.

If they do, they will face the same objections, for the same reasons.

Such a development would lead to traffic problems, noise and disturbance, it would damage the setting of historic buildings and harm wildlife. In short, it would ruin the character of the Spanish Battery, an area steeped in history dating back nearly 500 years.

The withdrawal of the application, which would have seen a café or restaurant, shop and a range of facilities for cyclists built within a conservation area, means locals and visitors alike can continue to enjoy this wonderful spot, free from commercial development.

The campaign to stop the scheme brought together residents, politicians from different parties, conservation groups and people from the wider North East, who know and love the Spanish Battery and were adamant that it should not be spoiled.

Some people painted us as nimbys, and worse. This was never the case.

We are not anti-cyclist, many of us are cyclists, and we are anxious to see better facilities for cyclists. To that end, we are happy to have accepted an invitation to contribute ideas to the council’s cycling strategy. That could include facilities in an appropriate part of Tynemouth or North Shields Fish Quay.

We have been humbled by the level of support our campaign has received, not least the 3,163 people who signed a petition asking North Tyneside Council to reject the scheme. To everyone involved, we extend our heartfelt thanks.

The developers stated that they wish to work with residents. If that is the case, they should come up with a scheme in a different location that has the widespread support of residents, as well as cyclists and the council, rather than one which provokes widespread opposition.

To this end, we would appeal to them to break their silence and state their intentions. The people of Tynemouth deserve no less.

Bill Corrigan

Chairman, Friends of the Spanish Battery