There is a well known saying that there are 3 sides to every story, their side, your side and the truth.
Well I'd just like to give you an update on the Spurn Visitor centre.
I have had a response from the head of planning at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council regarding Planning Condition 21. Rather predictably he wrote back to say that in his view the Planning Condition had been complied with as a protocol document had been submitted and the liaison group had been set up. In his view this constituted compliance. The fundamental point that he was missing however, was the one about KEEPING PEOPLE INFORMED. (that is stated quite clearly in the wording of the condition).
As you will be aware the Spurn Liaison Group had asked for clarity on opening times, the extent of gates, access for disabled people and particularly sea anglers, clarity on the extent of double yellow lines, sight of the Spurn masterplan and how suggestions made by the Liasion Group could be incorporated in to that plan, and a copy of the Considerate Contractors Audit, I could quote more but these are the main points.
All of these reasonable questions remain unanswered, The chap from ERYC Planning believes that Planning Condition 21 has been complied with and as such the Spurn Liaison Group has been adequately informed. To be blunt, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust could have submitted a protocol document about the life and times of Mickey Mouse for what the document was worth.No doubt it would still have been approved by ERYC.
I have not had a response from the CEO of ERYC (see my last blog post on the SLG) which is disappointing.
I have not had a response from the Chairman of the Spurn Liaison Group for him to confirm his position which is particularly disappointing.
There has been two interesting articles in the press just lately.
One was in the Holderness Gazette whereby locals from Kilnsea and Easington had expressed their disappointment at the lack of engagement from YWT and that the Spurn Liaison group had been ineffective since its formation.
As you would expect the Gazette also obtained a quote from YWT which said;
“During the planning process, representatives from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust admitted mistakes had been made in the past and we established the liaison group to improve relations in the local area. We have tried very hard to support this, providing regular detailed information about the Spurn Discovery Centre and our longer term vision. The liaison group has been very helpful in disseminating information through information points, publicising drop-in sessions and distributing the Spurn newsletter. The feedback we have received from visitors, local people and members of the liaison group has been very positive.”
Regular detailed information was not forthcoming and I would refer anyone to the irrefutable fact that those basic questions at the start of this blog remain unanswered.
The Spurn Masterplan or 'Long term Vision' as it is described has not been shared with the Spurn Liaison group. That is an irrefutable fact.
I cannot comment on whether visitors have given YWT positive feedback (i have looked all over social media and I cant find any) but at the last Spurn Liaison Group meeting in August I read out the list of things YWT hadn't done and the response from YWT was 'I'm sorry' .That is an irrefutable fact.A clear acknowledgement that YWT had not responded to reasonable questions when reasonably asked. I am not aware of any significant positive feedback discussed or minuted (Check them out for yourself on YWT website) from members of the Spurn Liaison group.
The other interesting article in the press is this one in YWT's magazine.
It says that the bulk of the construction ... has been undertaken off site to minimise disruption and disturbance to wildlife in its final location'. If anyone was to see the site now it would probably be safe to say that as a result of this visitor centre being constructed Spurn is suffering from the biggest man made disruption to wildlife in living history.
'Reducing current visitor pressure' it is widely claimed that Spurn gets about 20,000 visitors a year. YWT have an aspiration to increase that figure to 60.000 a year. 3 times more visitors will reduce current visitor pressure? Really?
The centre received £900,000 from E.ON. The Spurn Liaison group was informed that the project final cost was going to be nearer £1.3 million (or 45% over buget) and the shortfall would be paid for by Coastal Communities money. The article states 'supported' by the Coastal Communities Fund. I say bailed out.
As I said at the start of the blog, there are 3 sides to every story.
Thanks for reading.