Residents banned from cleaning Cleethorpes' north beach - despite grant possibility
RESIDENTS have been banned from cleaning up a neglected beach by the council after more than two years of “procrastination” – despite the possibility of a share of a £1-million grant.
As reported, the Big Lottery Fund will give the north end of the resort £1 million to be spent on community projects in Croft Baker and Sidney Sussex wards over the next ten years as part of its Big Local project.
Residents decide where the money will go and Cleethorpes’ north beach, near Suggitt’s Lane – which residents say is now littered with sharp metal and broken glass – is one of the prime contenders for a share of the cash.
A previous estimate put the cost at £20,000 but residents offered to organise a community clean-up to keep the cost down and were even awarded £250 of ward funding for spades and high-visibility vests.
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However, North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) recently issued a statement banning residents from doing any work.
Tony Neul, head of neighbourhood services for NELC, said that the council could not afford to maintain the land as an amenity or tourist beach and was still trying to establish who owned the land, which “could take some time”.
He added: “It is essential that residents do not undertake any work until they have full permission of the land owner.”
NELC know that ABP has the land on a 999-year lease from the Crown but say that the boundaries associated with this lease, and neighbouring leases between NELC and the Crown, are uncertain.
Robert Palmer, a member of local lobby group Cleethorpes Renaissance Town Team, has e-mails dating back two years from former portfolio holder for environment Peter Burgess, which states responsibility lies with NELC.
The beach is also included in the Council’s Cleethorpes’ Habitat Management Plan for 2011 to 2016, but according to Mr Palmer, they have claimed this is a “misprint”.
Mr Palmer is now “frustrated” with the situation and claims that the group never planned to turn it into a tourist beach.
He said: “It doesn’t need toilets and slot machines – we just want to clean it up so that residents can enjoy the beach like they always used to.
“Someone needs to acknowledge this situation as our dispute has already gone on for more than two years.”
At a recent public meeting to discuss how the Big Lottery money would be spent, there was a disagreement between residents and council leader Chris Shaw (Lab, Sidney Sussex), who would not endorse the plan.
Cleelincs Neighbourhood Forum chairman Steve Pyegott said: “It seemed like they were talking a lot about health and safety but surely it can’t be safe to have a beach in that condition which is regularly used by dog-walkers, including myself.”
NELC leader Chris Shaw said: “I like the idea of cleaning up the beach but I am not going to give permission for the group to go onto the land, uninsured, as it leaves the council open to a claim if someone is injured. The land is not owned by the council.”