YORKSHIRE Wildlife Trust’s controversial plans for a £900,000 visitor centre at Spurn on the heritage coast near Kilnsea have been approved despite hundreds of objections.
More than 1,900 people signed an online petition and 720 wrote letters opposing the plans for the Spurn Road centre amid fears it would be at risk of flooding and have a negative impact on the landscape.
A total of 215 campaigners for the proposals wrote letters backing the scheme and there were 471 signatures on petitions in favour.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s planning committee passed the plans by eight votes to four during a meeting at County Hall, Beverley, today.
The plans were unanimously rejected by the council’s eastern area planning sub-committee last July on the grounds of visual impact and flood risk.
Coun David Tucker, (Cons/South East Holderness), told the meeting many people shared concerns following the surge of December 2013.
Coun Tucker said: “Within minutes of the surge the proposed visitor centre, car park and access road were under 6ft of water and the road down the peninsula was lost, thus rendering the south peninsula an island, which is still cut off at high tides today.”
Coun Tucker said after the meeting: “The concerns have always been for visitor safety.” He added: “It is a very sad day. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and East Riding Council will have to live with the decision they have made.”
Coun Phyllis Pollard, (Conservative/Beverly Rural) who chairs East Riding Planning Committee, said: “I voted for it. I went on the site visit and I looked at the design and I think it can only add to the good experience of visitors.
“All the statutory consultees were happy with it. There was no voice saying this is a danger, a flood risk. Obviously there is going to be flooding on a site like this, but the building has been designed to cope with flooding. It is constructed so water can go through the building as it were.”
“My advice to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the residents is that they should try and work together. We have conditions that there should be a liaision committee, which hopefully will do something to mitigate the bad feeling the application has caused.
“I know residents were very upset. I’m sure they felt we had ignored their views. We were very aware of the strong feeling that the application had generated, but we felt that if the liaison committee does its work properly in bringing all parties together I think the visitor centre can be aa very useful asset for our heritage coast.”