A nature reserve and visitor destination is the ambition Redcar MP Anna Turley and local community partners would like to see at the South Gare.
Over the past year Anna has been working with environmental charities, the council, and the local community to devise a regeneration proposal for the coastal strip of land.
The plans include developing wildlife habitats and improving accessibility and visitor facilities. It would create a visitor destination to sit alongside the industrial renaissance planned for the wider site.
In the consultation on the South Tees Development Corporation Masterplan which includes the SSI site and the South Gare, Anna has called on the corporation to hand responsibility for improving the area to a local partnership of environmental groups and the community to develop the project.
The partners involved with developing the proposal include: RSPB, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, Industry Nature Conservation Association, Redcar and Cleveland Council, Natural England, Groundworks NE, PD Ports, Redcar Development Trust, and the Marine Club.
Commenting on the proposal, Anna said:
“The South Gare is a beautiful natural asset enjoyed by hundreds of people every week, but ownership issues have left the area neglected and undervalued. With some care and attention this could be an important nature reserve and major visitor destination, attracting thousands of visitors.
“Local people and environmental groups have some great ideas to protect wildlife habitats, regenerate neglected areas and make it an even better place to visit. There would be opportunities for local people to develop skills and experience on the project too.
“We sent the proposal to the Development Corporation and the area has since been designated as a Coastal Communities Zones in the masterplan. We urgently want jobs and industry developed on the main SSI site but, if they give the community the responsibility to manage South Gare, we know we can transform this part of our coastline into something that safeguards wildlife that the public can enjoy forever.”
David Braithwaite, Senior Site Manager at RSPB Saltholme near Stockton-On-Tees said:
“The River Tees estuary is home to some very special wildlife and this project at South Gare offers the prospect of really making a difference in securing a wonderful nature reserve for people to enjoy. The RSPB is in full support of ensuring that nature is cared for. We see 80,000 visitors a year to Saltholme on the other side of the river to South Gare and I can quite see that the Gare will be similarly popular. The exciting plans will see visitors carefully managed to ensure that the beautiful flowers, dynamic insects, magnificent seabirds and all the rest flourish while people learn to appreciate and value the fabulous diversity.”