Northumberland Coast should be Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty say Berwick Council

Berwick Town Council is calling for the boundary of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be extended to take in the community

Berwick, berwick-upon-tweed
Berwick, berwick-upon-tweed

A border town should be added to an area of outstanding natural beauty, its councillors say.

Berwick Town Council is calling for the boundary of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be extended to take in the community.

Their request last night drew a mixed response from those who manage the AONB, although the final decision would lie with the Government.

The town council agreed at its latest meeting to request that the town be added to the Government’s list of specialist areas.

Part’s of the country designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are handed Government cash to help train up farmers and landowners in ways of preserving the natural environment.

The move also comes with planning and parking restrictions to preserve key locations.

Last night, town mayor Coun Isabel Hunter, also a Northumberland County Councillor, explained that members believe it is wrong that Berwick sits between the AONB to the South and similar protective designations to the North.

She added this would allow some “joined up thinking”.

Coun Hunter said being part of the AONB would afford the town greater protection from inappropriate development. As a county councillor I feel that it should actually go right up to the border.”

Last night, David Feige, the partnership’s AONB officer, said his organisation agrees that Berwick has the necessary landscape qualities to be incorporated.

However, he said partnerships are receiving less government funding and therefore having the resources to manage a larger AONB would prove difficult.

Mr Feige said the partnership would have to make a case to Natural England, which would make the final decision.

He added that its priorities currently lie with the review of its management plan.

“It is something that has come up from time to time.

“In terms of the quality of the landscape, I think there would be quite a strong argument in favour of it.

“We would have to think very carefully of the implications of managing a larger AONB knowing that resources are going to dwindle.

“The actual process of providing the evidence to government that the landscape is of appropriate quality in itself would be quite expensive.

“In the midst of the review of the management plan, AONB expansion is not something I would envisage us putting them (resources) into over the next six months.

“Boundary review is something that could be in the management plan as an action point.

“We have got a very open mind.”

The AONB was designated in 1958 and covers 39 miles of coast from south of Berwick to the Coquet estuary.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer