Government inspector Sian Worden convened a one-day inquiry yesterday to establish whether a controversial development of the harbour should form part of a council blueprint for the resort.
East Riding Council’s proposed Bridlington Area Action Plan includes the provision of a hotel, retail and leisure development on the harbour top, which opponents, who include the town council and some residents, claim would spoil the harbour and draw trade away from the town centre.
Asked by Ms Worden to explain why the proposed facilities on the harbour top were needed, John Weir, from consultants Drivers Jonas Deloitte, told the hearing at Bridlington Spa: “I came here one Sunday morning two months ago with my wife and son from West Yorkshire; we spent a couple of hours but we had to go home again because there was nowhere really to have lunch, there was nothing to do.
“There was little in the way of amenity beyond a couple of hours of entertainment. Had there been restaurants we would have stayed longer and we would have spent more money.”
But adding to concerns about the potential impact of the development, ex-councillor Geoff Pickering said: “We’ve just heard there’s an issue with the town itself being obscured and the answer to that is to develop the harbour top. That seems rather strange.”
However, Nora Galley, for East Riding Council, said the town and harbour developments would complement each other and that radical change was needed.
She said the resort need to broaden its appeal to non-seasonal visitors, adding: “Just putting (in) a Hockney gallery of great value is not going to change these things. The first step is to get the basics right.”
The plan, which includes a new Tesco store at Hilderthorpe coach park, will guide development in the town for the next 10 years.
Ms Worden is expected to publish her findings this month.