LIGHTHOUSE: Safety and visitor needs

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It was evident that the proposed refurbishment and updating of St Mary’s Lighthouse and causeway would arise again sooner or later. I see that it is, in fact, very soon.

The main difference between the original planning application and the new version is the total removal of the viewing platform for visitors looking out to sea and to the shoreline to see wildlife.

I understand the raising of the level of the causeway will no longer be part of the development. The work to repair where necessary will remain.

My contribution to consultation for this project was to note the attraction of the seals, in particular, to visitors, local and from anywhere else.

It still appears to be a relatively simple matter to provide a viewing facility by hiding the platform or such from the shoreline on the same basis as ‘hide’ huts in any nature reserve that we have had for decades. Wildlife care is something we are aware of.

The updated building work is to provide for visitors.

I regard the causeway work as a safety measure for cars, service vehicles and pedestrians. Too many people have been trapped by incoming tides over the years and even a modest increase in height at critical points will give a further margin of safety. It is necessary for everyone to be aware of the tides and the warning notices.

This supposed victory for the groups opposing the viewing platform does not correspond to my idea of a commercially self-supporting visitor centre.

Various coastal residents have objected to the arrival of very tall wind turbines off the coast of Whitley Bay, others are more concerned about the amount of ‘green’ electricity they will produce.

Visitors may wish to see the seals and any dolphins passing St Mary’s, rather than clusters of wind turbines, perhaps travelling on the landtrain to get there.

Mr A M Johnson

Cullercoats