Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Opencast Plans Spark Concern for County's Tourism

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Opencast Plans Spark Concern for County's Tourism

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Northumberland reporter

FEARS have been voiced that HGVs travelling to and from a proposed opencast mine will damage tourist trade on the Northumberland coast.

Banks Mining has lodged a planning application for a surface mine near Druridge Bay.

Concerns have now been voiced by a local politician that proposals for 25 HGV journeys per hour will put motorists and cyclists off using a route which takes in Amble, Warkworth and Alnmouth, with a resulting impact on tourism.

Banks has pointed to an independent study which concluded its scheme would have "no significant impact on the performance of the road network," stressed the route is a freight road and that traffic would not pass through any of the named places.

The Highthorn scheme, near Widdrington, includes provision for the journeys from 7am to 7pm on the A1068 south of the entrance to the mine.

Northumberland County Council is currently consulting on the application.

Northumberland Liberal Democrat campaigner Julie Porksen said: "The A1068 is the key access road for our historic tourist villages of Alnmouth and Warkworth and our booming seaside town of Amble used by tourists and day-trippers alike.

"The A1068 is a fast and dangerous road now, with the possibility of an extra HGV every two to three minutes it will become an exceedingly dangerous road for cyclists and perhaps too unpleasant a drive for other road users.

"Many local businesses tell me they rely on passing trade and given that Amble is thriving and becoming an acknowledged destination in the region we should be encouraging more visitors to come not putting them off.

"Whilst a new mine would bring some jobs, I am concerned that these will be at the expense of more longer-term jobs and businesses in the area. I encourage business owners and residents to have a good look at the Highthorn planning application, to judge whether the mine traffic would impact on them, and to send their views into the planning process. …

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