South Tyneside campaigners launch petition against plans to stage public events in a seafront park
Campaigners seeking silence have vowed to fight council plans to expand South Tyneside’s outdoor live entertainments repertoire into a noise-free seafront park.
They have accused the local authority of being out of tune with residents’ wishes over its bid to stage live events in the North Marine Park, South Shields.
Over 170 people have signed a petition against the South Tyneside Council proposal to allow shows in the park at any time between 10am and 8pm, seven days a week.
It has applied to its own licencing committee for permission to do so, insisting only small scale community events, including storytelling and dances, would be allowed.
Protestors claim nearby South Marine Park and Bents Park are already awash with noise pollution from music and other performances – and want the North Marine Park kept quiet.
Businesswoman Carol Coxon, 45, says she has delivered over 1,000 leaflets to homes detailing the council’s application.
Mrs Coxon, of Beach Road, South Shields, said: “This licence leaves it wide open for the council to put on whatever it wants, and at any time of day.
“The North Marine is just about the last quiet park in South Tyneside. People come here for picnics, to walk their dogs and for peace and quiet.
“So many local residents are going crazy about this. Once the council obtains the license, it could hold large events whenever it wanted.
“Locals are outraged by the council’s decision to apply for this licence. I have a petition going and I have already gained over 100 signatures against the proposals.”
She added: “I’ve spoken to the council about this but I’ve had my intelligence insulted by being told that it will be only little doggy events or school dances that are put on, which is a load of rubbish.
“Last I remembered, we are living in a democracy, but from my conversation with the council it was implied that this is a done deal, regardless of any objections.
“If it gets this licence, then they will be able to put on whatever type of event they please. We don’t want this – they have plenty of other places for events.
“As residents, we are entitled to have at least one quiet place that is free from noise. I assure the council that it has a fight on its hands.”
Mrs Coxon believes an area close to the Haven Point swimming pool is the council’s preferred live events location.
She claims the licence forms part of a previously unpublicised element of the council’s success in winning £2.4m from the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund for park restoration work.
Councillor John Anglin, the council’s Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “North Marine Park was designed to be an asset for the community and original features such as the bandstand, the promenade and the aviary encouraged social gatherings.
“The successful bid for National Lottery Heritage funding has created a fantastic opportunity to redevelop and reinstate the park.
“To maximise its potential for the provision of activities the park needs an appropriate premises licence in place.
“We would like to reassure people that the intention is to hold occasional, small scale community events such as storytelling, family fun days, small plays and dance in the park.
“The application does not cover the sale of alcohol. Large scale events will continue to be held in Bents Park.
“To make this clear, we will be making some amendments to the licence application and will be bringing event finishing times forward to 8pm.
“Any relevant representations received before June 10 will be considered in accordance with licensing objectives.”
The public can comment on the council’s plans until Wednesday, June 12.