Redcar Beacon: ‘Zero progress’ claim on safety at Yorkshire seaside attraction after teenagers 'lob missiles' and set fires in toilets
The Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed in July last year how teenagers had been climbing over safety barriers on a viewing gallery at the top of the 80ft high structure – which was subsequently closed – and in some instances lobbing missiles onto the ground below.
Coatham ward councillor Carl Quartermain has been pushing Redcar and Cleveland Council to come up with a longer term solution to future proof the Beacon so as to protect members of the public.
The council has subsequently re-opened the viewing gallery with a security guard in attendance during school holidays and said it would be open again in time for the Easter break.
Coun Quartermain previously suggested an entrance barrier could be installed restricting access to the upper floors which could be opened with a redeemable token.
There have been other incidents at the Beacon, including fires being set in toilets and damage to its lift, and an accumulation of incidents in the area contributed to Cleveland Police putting a temporary dispersal order in place in central Redcar last summer.
Coun Quartermain, the former Labour group leader on the local authority, said: “I have asked [council] officers for an update so that visitors and residents can regain access without the danger being caused by the risk of someone falling from the structure and projectiles, including small rocks, being thrown down onto patio decking where people are gathered.
“I provided some suggestions myself to [council leader] Mary Lanigan and was assured officers would come back with solutions.
“They have not and subsequently zero has happened, no suggestions, no updates, no further request for ideas.
“If there has been progress, it has been behind closed doors and extremely slow, and this is quite frankly discourteous to myself and residents.
“It’s simply not good enough.”
Redcar and Cleveland Council said a “number of options are being investigated to provide a longer term solution to ensure safety at all times, while also protecting the structure and look of the building”.
A spokesman added: “The Beacon is a key attraction for people to enjoy.
“However, safety of the public must always be the priority and that’s why a decision was taken to close the balcony in the latter half of 2022 after a number of incidents of vandalism, people throwing objects from the viewing platform and climbing out beyond the safety barriers.
“We have continued to open the viewing gallery with a security guard in attendance during school holidays and are pleased to confirm that the viewing balcony will reopen for the period of the Easter school holidays from this Saturday (April 1).”
The Beacon, which opened in March 2013 at a cost of £1.8m, has seven floors and 132 steps with four floors of business space and a ‘sky lounge’ for meetings and events.
The top floor balcony is an open roof terrace and offers 360 degree views over Redcar and the sea.