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Residents call for clarity over

new Spurn Visitor Centre

    By Gina Hobbs  

YORKSHIRE Wildlife Trust’s £900,000 visitor centre at Spurn Point sited at Kilnsea continues to frustrate local residents. With only weeks to go before building work ends residents have told the Gazette they feel their views and ideas continue to be ignored by the Trust. They are unhappy by the visibility of the building on open land and say it is ‘not nestling;’ in the landscape but dominating it. Local people had favoured a nearby site at Southfield Farm, further back from the chosen one.
They claim there has been lack of communication during the last six months from the Trust over the building work and feelings are running high.
Matters have been exacerbated by the intimation of the closure of the Spurn Liaison Group which had been set up as planning condition to act as a bridge between the Trust and residents.
East Riding ward councillors Dave Tucker and Lyn Healing believe there is a reluctance by the Trust to engage with the community and have backed residents’ calls for clarity.
“Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have missed opportunities to build bridges. Where is the engagement with the community, nothing is offered,” said Cllr Tucker. I’ve asked to see a Spurn Management Plan to see what’s happening in the area but there seems to be a great reluctance from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. We just want people to get around the table and have open dialogue, so people can be told what is going on before it happens.”
Cllr Healing said: “I was at a liaison group meeting in July and was disappointed with how Yorkshire Wildlife Trust responded to any questions put to them by local residents. They were very defensive and did not answer in full. One question was about setting up a marquee in a field for shelter for the Spurn Migration Festival which is this weekend. The answer was a flat ‘no.’ I asked why and the subject was closed down.”
Local resident Jan Crowther said: “Building bridges with the community has been a complete waste of time, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have not listened.” Her views were echoed by Stephen Exley, who said: “They’ve ridden roughshod over us, ruining habitat.”
Ian Smith from Kilnsea said: “If the Trust had engaged with local people at the outset, been more flexible and got local people on board, it could have been a different story but they haven’t listened.”
Welwick resident and conservationist Larry Malkin stressed there was a need for the liaison group. “I will be working with other members of the committee to ensure the liaison group will continue to meet after the new centre is open, because there is a great need for it. It is essential all parties put their differences aside now and work together to ensure that the facilities and opportunities presented by this unique area are preserved and developed for

everybody to use and appreciate.”
Terry Smithson Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Director of Operations, North and East, 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.”

The Holderness Gazette - Serving News to the Holderness Region