|"Trespassers" not welcome - ABP has recently strengthened the palisade fencing |
A POPULAR birding site on the boundary of Grimsby and Cleethorpes could be lost to industrial development.
Palisade fencing has been strengthened around the perimeter by UK ports giant ABP in order to block public access.
The site has potential as a base for decommissioning redundant offshore oil and gas installations.
According to the company's sustainable development manager, Tom Jeynes, this is one of the options being considered by the company for a former railways sidings site - known locally as New Clee waterfront - which lies between the Blundell Park home of Grimsby Town FC and the Humber Estuary.
The land, mostly scrub-dominated, is of ecological interest, both because it contains numerous wild flowers and because it is a stop-off point for migrating birds, including occasional rarities such as red-backed shrike and even bluethroat.
Subject to planning permission being granted by North East Lincolnshire Council, other development possibilities for the site include maintenance workshops for servicing offshore windfarms, fish processing factories and additional berthing for shipping.
However, the current "front-runner" is to use the land for storage of cargo - possibly including cars which might involve the construction of multi-storey car parks.
Mr Jeynes was giving evidence at a two-day planning inquiry, being held at Grimsby Town Hall, into an application by local resident Robert Palmer and supporters for an "historic route" through the land to be confirmed as a footpath.
ABP is opposing the application because it believes a public footpath would compromise any future development proposals.
Mr Jeynes acknowledged that land had been used for recreational purposes by "trespassers" gaining access through vandalised palisade perimeter fencing, but he said there had never been public access "as of right".