Controversial ‘Private Beach’ signs come down at Marsden Grotto

Marsden Grotto new signage with Private Beach
Marsden Grotto new signage with Private Beach

A pub’s controversial ‘Private Beach’ sign at a South Tyneside beauty spot is in breach of planning permission say council bosses.

New signs erected at the exit of the Marsden Grotto on Coast Road, South Shields, stated that the Grotto has its own ‘Private Beach’.

Local authority chiefs say the signs were put in place without permission and they’ve taken action to have them removed.

However, Grotto boss Sharon Deehan, who took over the business earlier this month, said that she is still waiting to hear back from a highways officer about the matter.

She said: “There has always been an advertising sign for the Grotto on this bit of land, which does indeed belong to the council.

“We just replaced the previous owners’ signs. I am waiting to hear back from a highways officer, who returns back to work next week, about the matter and then we are looking to submit retrospective planning permission.

“If it’s ruled we can’t have the sign there then I will just move it back a bit onto our land. But there’s lots of lager signs, including one over the road, on council land advertising businesses, so I would like to think that all these have the correct planning permission too.”

The National Trust, which owns and maintains the majority of Marsden Bay – along with The Leas above, had expressed concerns that the signs were confusing and could put tourists off visiting Marsden Bay due to assumed restricted access.

Only a very small section of the actual beach – the stretch in front of the Grotto down the mean high tide line – belongs to the Marsden Grotto. The rest of the beach and bay is managed by the trust.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Only a small portion of the beach at Marsden Bay is in private ownership and it is misleading for the new owners of the Grotto to advertise it as a private beach. That aside, the signs have been erected without planning permission and we have taken action to have them removed.

“South Tyneside has a beautiful coastline and Foreshore that is visited by millions every year. We will be working with the owners to ensure that they advertise appropriately as not to confuse visitors to the area.”