Tuesday, 15 November 2016

PORT GIANT'S BID TO BLOCK RESIDENTS' FOOTPATH APPLICATION

 
Trespassers not welcome - ABP has recently strengthened the palisade fencing 

A DERELICT parcel of land on the boundary of Grimsby and Cleethorpes  could be used as a base for decommissioning redundant offshore oil and gas installations.

According to its sustainable development manager, Tom Jeynes, this is one of the options being considered by the company for a  former railways sidings site - known locally as New Clee waterfront -  which lies between the Blundell Park home of Grimsby Town FC and the Humber Estuary.

The land, mostly scrub-dominated, is popular with dog walkers, especially those living in Harrington Street and Suggitts Lane. It is also of ecological interest, both  because it contains numerous wild flowers and because it is a stop-off point for migrating birds, including rarities such as red-backed shrike and  bluethroat.

Subject to planning permission being granted by  North East Lincolnshire Council, other development possibilities for the site  include maintenance workshops for servicing offshore windfarms, fish processing units and additional berthing for shipping.

However, the current "front-runner" is to use the land for storage of cargo - possibly including cars which might involve the construction of multi-storey car parks.

Mr Jeynes was giving evidence at a two-day planning inquiry, being held at Grimsby Town Hall,  into an application by local resident Robert Palmer and supporters for an "historic route" through the land  to be confirmed as a footpath.

ABP is opposing the application because it believes a public footpath would compromise any future development proposals.

Mr Jeynes acknowledged that land had been  used for recreational purposes by "trespassers" gaining access through vandalised palisade perimeter fencing, but he said there had never been public access "as of right".                                                    
Grimsby's dock tower provides a backdrop to one of the numerous Keep Out signs 

He  said the land posed a health and safety risk and that there had been cases of arson in which grass had been set alight.

Earlier, Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC, representing ABP, maintained the company had inherited the site as successor body to the British Transport Commission.

"It is of no consequence that the land is currently vacant,"he declared. "It is part of port operational land."

The inquiry is being conducted on behalf of DEFRA by planning inspector Martin Elliott who has been hearing evidence from further witnesses in advance of conducting a site visit.

He is not expected to announce his decision until early in the New Year.                                         
Behind the fence - potential site for cargo storage?
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