Riding roughshod over public opinion

I understand that at a meeting of North Tyneside Council last Thursday, February 5, it was announced that demolition of the Boardwalk Café will take place ‘immediately’.

The council justify this action by quoting the support of 558 persons from across the whole of the unitary authority who are apparently in favour of the alternative offered by the ‘Masterplan’ for the coast.

By refusing to reconsider its proposals for Watts Slope, our patched-together Frankenstein’s monster of a council, which cannot claim to represent the wishes of the coastal electorate (or, indeed, of any other township in the ill-matched conglomerate of North Tyneside), has chosen to disregard a petition signed by around four times that number – indeed, should the group campaigning to retain the café have continued to collect signatures after reaching the target necessary to instigate a meeting of the full council, they are confident that they could, in a very short time, have doubled and trebled that impressive total.

By relying on a whipped party-political vote in the council chamber, buttressed by the select opinions of those who commented on the regeneration plans, North Tyneside Council may be preserving a fig-leaf of public accountability: but they are riding roughshod over genuine public opinion, as expressed by the thousands who were consulted individually on the streets of Whitley Bay.

Gillian Swanson

Whitley Bay