Business leaders say the decision to reject a new visitor attraction at the Humber Bridge is “a bad decision for the economy, tourism and culture of Hull and the Humber as we head towards UK City of Culture”.
The Bridge Board said there was a strong chance of an appeal after East Riding councillors turned down plans for the Lift, set to offer a ride to the top of the Humber Bridge in a glass gondola, because the £19m scheme includes a “speculative” 60,000 sq ft office development.
The office block, which was part of a mixed use development, including a visitor centre and hotel, was deemed inappropriate in a countryside location, and against local and national planning policy.
Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce were “deeply disappointed” and said business leaders would back the board “should they wish to appeal what we regard as a bad decision for the economy, tourism potential and culture of Hull and the Humber as we head towards our UK City of Culture year in 2017. The Chamber considers the planned Humber Bridge Experience to be a superb scheme which would be a real asset to the area that would see the creation of a series of lifts on the north tower, a new visitor centre, cafe and high class restaurant with views over the Humber.”
Clerk to the Bridge Board Darryl Stephenson told The Yorkshire Post they did not want to cut back on a scheme aiming to be a world class visitor destination. The East Riding Council had already made it clear they didn’t want housing on the disused lorry park, he said. He added: “I don’t know what they find acceptable in planning on that land. Are they going to leave it a disused lorry park? I really question the East Riding’s commitment to economic regeneration and tourism. They should have looked at it in an integrated way, said this is a fantastic potential for tourism and given it a departure from the local plan.”
However David Nolan, chairman of Hessle Town Council’s planning committee, hopes the board will go back to the drawing board. The town council rejected the plans in the summer. He said: “We want The Lift and a decent visitor centre, but not at any price. The town council had concerns about putting a hotel on a green space and about closing the northbound off-slip road which we believe will add to congestion on the Humber Bridge roundabout and on 100 plus commuter cars being displaced to surrounding roads.”