Councillor suggests demolishing 150-year-old historic lime kilns to make way for new Coast Road between South Shields and Whitburn
Historic lime kilns dating back to the 1870s could be demolished to allow a key road to be diverted away from crumbling cliffs, a councillor has suggested.
Traffic chiefs have been working to ensure the historic Marsden lime kilns are protected under works, but one councillor has suggested they be bulldozed to help buy more time.
“I’m always puzzled by the fact that the lime kilns are listed buildings,” said Cllr Gladys Hobson.
“I’m yet to find anybody who finds them aesthetically pleasing [so] I thought there could have been some kind of dispensation to take the lime kilns away to take the road further in.
“Every time I drive past that I think what an eyesore.
“I know we have an industrial heritage and there’s a limit to what we can do, but this road is going to last 50 years – it’s not a long time.”
Cllr Hobson was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF), which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
The kilns, listed as scheduled monuments by Historic England, were built in the 1870s, producing lime for farming, construction and heavy industry.
Concerns about coastal erosion in the area have been growing in recent years, with cliffs at nearby Marsden Bay suffering a partial collapse in January 2021 which was caught on camera by a dog walker.
Highways bosses have long term ambitions to move the A138 Coast Road further inland, possibly by re-purposing the existing Lizard Lane.
In the meantime however they hope plans for a realignment will buy an extra 50 years for the smallest financial cost or disruption to families, traffic or wildlife.
A planning application for this project is expected to be submitted in the summer, with construction starting in 2022.
Council project manager Ian Guard told the committee: “Although it’s not as evident on the surface, the pinch point that we’re realigning mainly away from is mainly due to cave formations below.
“The area adjacent to the lime kilns is actually not as susceptible to coastal erosion.
“The intention is that this will provide a 50 year lifespan to maintain the road whilst longer term options are looked at as a permanent solution.”