CAMPAIGNERS in South Shields are hoping to save a “last vestige” of the town’s riverside heritage now under threat from a planned £180m expansion at the Port of Tyne.
The port’s development plans for the Tyne Dock estate require the closure of a byway, Readhead’s Landing in Commercial Road.
The landing is the only remaining direct access to the river in the town.
The landing has been a play area for children since the 1940s and offers a bird’s-eye view for modern-day photographers and birdwatchers.
Although the byway remains open to the public, the Port of Tyne says it is in an unsafe condition.
It’s earmarked for closure as part of a massive renewable energy expansion plan which would see the creation of more than 1,000 jobs at the Port of Tyne.
But campaigners are determined not to give up without a fight and aim to save “this magic place” for future generations.
A group of volunteers has formed a Readhead’s Landing support group on the Facebook social media site.
They have met several times over recent weeks to work on cleaning up the landing in a bid to make it safer and more accessible.
Kevin Flett, a member of the support group, emphasised that members were not against the port’s expansion plan.
He said: “I want to make it clear that the group is in no way against the development. We are all for creating jobs on the river.
“All we are asking is that this tiny bit of the river’s heritage is spared.
“It’s a place where generations of parents have taken their children to play.
“It’s a magic place with a lovely cobbled walkway, and we want to see it retained.
“We’re sure they could design this development without the necessity of taking it away from the people of the town. It is, after all, part of our heritage.”
Another campaign member, Michael Wanless, has particular reason to support the landing’s retention.
His late father, George Wanless, fought for many years to keep the byway open.
He said: “It’s one of a kind. There’s no other direct access to the river in the town. We can’t afford to lose this piece of history.”