The pathetic decision to refuse planning permission for the Humber Bridge Board, on its exciting proposals for a new Visitor Centre & Lift Scheme, at East Riding Councils Planning Committee meeting on Thursday 17th November 2016, means Hull and the surrounding area miss out on having a World Icon!
The Board had put forward a £20m plus scheme to build a new Visitor Centre, Hotel, Office,Restaurants and Bridge Lift proposal, which would have created over 400 jobs directly and possibly many times that indirectly, in the West Hull and Hessle area.
The number of tourists that would be attracted to visit the Bridge would be considerable, as this is one of the most iconic bridges in the World.
The Bridge is potentially East Yorkshire’s and Lincolnshire’s biggest tourist asset and yet it lies untapped because of a lack of vision from a Council that has no interest in the economic welfare of Hull and Haltemprice.
The Leader of East Riding Council confirmed as much at the time of the reduction in the Bridge tolls, when he said that such a measure would have “no economic benefit to East Riding Council”!!!
Such prejudiced and inaccurate views have been proved wrong, as the Bridge is now receiving toll income of £20m per annum, almost back to the pre-toll reduction levels to £22m, when the charges were double!
The Council have chosen to refuse the planning application because it included ‘an office block’, which the Bridge Board business case needed to make the rest of the scheme financially viable.
This office Block would take away car parking whilst increasing the demand for the same, is the claim.
Hessle residents fear that the already pressured demands placed by current office facilities in the area would be added too.
These concerns are understandable, but the current situation has been created by East Riding Council who has given permission for development at Waterside Park/Livingstone Road and at Bridgehead areas, without them improving the infrastructure and necessary supporting facilities.
The Council’s refusal for the Board is therefore pathetic and illogical, as the reasons for refusal, are for reasons that they are responsible for and should have dealt with!
It is to be hoped that common sense prevails and the Bridge Board are successful on appeal, as the number of visitors, together with new direct and indirect employment is desperately needed.
This is also the time for Bridge Board to ‘dust off’ their proposals for ‘lighting up the Humber Bridge’ with LED lights too in time for City of Culture 2017 and the long stated aims of legacy.
The Millennium Bridge from Tate Modern across the Thames, in Blue LED lights is fantastic and shows on a much smaller scale what can be done.
Birds don’t fly into that and fish still swim up the river, so lets do it here!
Hull needs a World Class icon and the Lift together with LED lights on one of the Worlds most spectacular bridges, would give us that.
The economy of the City of Hull and the surrounding area would be greatly enhanced by the development.
Even more importantly, it would keep us on the World map in both tourists and employers minds, when decisions are made on future investment too!!
IT IS VITAL NOW THAT AS MANY RESIDENTS AND LOCAL BUSINESSES MAKE THEIR VIEWS KNOWN TO EAST RIDING COUNCIL, SO THAT THEY SEE SENSE AND SUPPORT THE BUSINESS CASE, APPROVE THE PLANS AND PUT THE NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE SO BADLY NEEDED IN HESSLE.