Contentious cycle-hub bid at Battery withdrawn

A controversial application to build a cycle hub in Tynemouth has been withdrawn and relieved objectors are now proposing alternative sites.

Thursday, 21st September 2017, 9:49 am
Updated Thursday, 21st September 2017, 9:50 am
An artist's impression of the cycle-hub plan at Tynemouth, before it was withdrawn .

Northern Property Group was behind the scheme to build leisure facilities for cyclists, including a rooftop garden, viewing terrace and a shop, at the Spanish Battery.

The developer said that it would be a world-class facility, designed to put Tynemouth on the cycle map.

However, the proposal attracted fierce opposition, with a petition signed by more than 3,000 objectors.

The development was set to be close to the grade II-listed Watch House Museum and the Old Coastguard Cottages, and those against the project feared it would disturb the tranquillity of the area, cause traffic problems and harm wildlife.

And last week, it was confirmed that Northern Property Group had pulled the plug on the plan, which had been submitted to North Tyneside Council.

Campaigners say they are unaware of the company’s intentions and will object if Northern submits a revised application for commercial development at the Battery site.

The Guardian contacted the firm for comment, but did not receive one by the time of going to press.

However, objectors say they are not anti-cycling and are proposing alternative sites for a cycle-hub, including North Shields Fish Quay.

Campaigners were invited to contribute to the council’s cycling strategy and the Spanish Battery Association suggested several alternative locations, including the Fish Quay, for a cycle hub.

They say this could become the finishing point for the coast-to-coast cycle ride, with some people arguing the river meets the sea at the former Lloyds Hailing Station at the harbour in North Shields, rather than Tynemouth.

Other ideas, if the property owners agreed, include the former Sea Scouts premises or Pier Cottage, both vacant buildings close to Tynemouth village, and a former restaurant on Grand Parade.

Locals are also suggesting developing an idea called the Tynemouth Cycle Wheel, involving local businesses co-operating with cyclists and the council to provide facilities.

One idea is that Crusoe’s beachfront restaurant on the Long Sands could provide an end point for the coast-to-coast ride.

One of those in support of developing cycle facilities in the area – but not at the Battery – is Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.

He said: “Cyclists and cycling are welcome in Tynemouth. My view, after carefully considering the proposal, was that it was inappropriate for such a development at the Spanish Battery. Lots of people and organisations clearly share that view.

“There are already amenities in Tynemouth Village or the Fish Quay could provide an alternative.”

Meanwhile, Bill Corrigan, of Friends of the Spanish Battery, said: “We are not anti-cyclist and wish to see improved facilities. We are confident a more sustainable alternative to the Spanish Battery will be found.”