Saturday, October 14, 2006

Environmental protest, or misplaced fears?

A&P Tyne want to recycle

I find myself mildly astonished that the good people of Hebburn are up in arms and gathering signatures in protest at A&P Tyne's plans to break up and recycle former Royal Navy ships at it's yard on the riverside near Hebburn Village. They seem convinced that any such operation will result in widespread environmental pollution of the worst kind, drawing parallels with the planned operation to break up the so called U.S. "ghost ships" in Hartlepool.

Not withstanding the fact that such an operation will be performed under a strictly regulated license from the local council, with all the necessary inspections that will take place on a regular basis, nobody, as far as I can remember, uttered a word of protest when the same materials were being used when building ships on the Tyne! Asbestos was widely used as a fire protection control in the building process, along with other materials thought to be hazardous. They were strictly controlled then, and I see no reason to believe that they will not be strictly controlled in the future.

Do these people want jobs or not?


Shields Gazette

What bothers me is that it appears that when someone buys a house nowadays, they seem to think that they have bought the street or even the town. The houses in question were built next to an industrial asset. What do these people now expect? Should the yard go over to growing flowers or cabbages? It seems that we cannot compete in the shipbuilding world so the owners of these assets have to put them to some sort of use. The people who bought the houses should have realised that the yard would not just disappear overnight because the new property owners had now arrived.
I think a for lot of the people who have lived in Hebburn village for some time it's understandable that they feel let down. Many of the people who first moved in there were told of plans to redevelop the adjacent yard site into a riverside recreational area - a new marina, pubs, restaurants, gyms and spas - all focussed around a maritime museum with HMS Cavalier as the star attraction.

The funding for this pipe dream never appeared.

I remember seeing these plans (which subsequently were found to be no more than proposals) at the Bellway sales office on the site, and they formed part of Bellways' sales pitch.

Understandably, purchasers saw this as an opportunity to buy a property in an area which was going places and would provide a good return on their investment, or at the very least an improving area which could be somewhere nice to bring up their kids.

So the people who bought here have had their expectations stuffed. Investments can go down as well as up. But, perhaps, now it's in the news it's time that those who originally pitched this riverside attraction are called to account?
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