Villagers’ fears for ‘peaceful village’ over wharf revival plans

Plans to revive a wharf on the River Trent in North Lincolnshire have been met by strong opposition from residents who warn of the “ruination of a peaceful village”.

After a permit application for “cementitious-based products”, a campaign group was formed and website created to oppose increased activities at Kingsferry Wharf in Burton upon Stather. The wharf has had little to no major activity for decades.

But tenants MCL Solutions Ltd have renovated it and want to increase business activity at the wharf. Residents say it is “an outdated facility” that has “run its course” and is unsuitable for the area.

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The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) met residents by the wharf who oppose any expansion of activities there. The permit application to the Port of Hull and Goole Health Authority that started the campaign was withdrawn early last month. Villagers though viewed this as only a skirmish victory.

“It was rescinded within ten days of the leaflets being handed out,” said Roger Neal, reflecting their belief that opposition to the permit resulted in the application’s withdrawal. Kingsferry Wharf has existed since the 1970s, though a Royal Charter for a Burton port stretches back to 1342.

For resident Simon Nicholson, the original wharf permission in 1965 was a big error. He slammed it for having no public consultation. “That then created a chain of mistakes,” he said.

Long-term residents’ memories and parish council archive documents showed there were dust, noise and lorry issues during the wharf’s previous busiest period of activity, in the 1970s to ’90s. “I lived here when the lorries lined up every day from about 5.30pm,” recalled Kev Gray. It was then redundant until about 2009, and since then had had very limited activities.

Kingsferry Wharf, Burton upon Stather, from above.
Kingsferry Wharf, Burton upon Stather, from above.

“The village believe that’s an outdated facility,” said Simon. “This village has been allowed to develop into a residential area.”

“You would never get access here if it was a new planning permission now,” he added, stating original permission allowed for a 32 tonne vehicle limit. The wharf is only accessible by the steeply sloping, bumpy Stather Road. Along that road and at the bottom of the village are more homes and The Ferry House pub, right next door.

The villagers’ concerns about intended increased business activity at the wharf were multiple. Most related to traffic and road safety.

“It’s so tight on the corner,” at the top of the Stather Road hill, said Emma Collier. There is virtually no off-road parking on the road said Kev. He raised road safety and noted bollards outside The Sheffield Arms at the corner where the road met the High Street. These were installed in the late 1990s after a near miss incident with two children.

Roger raised as a concern property damage linked to the traffic and the effects on people’s personal health of dust particulates from traffic. Jenny Emmett, who lived at the hilltop, said there was an “ampitheatre effect” with noise from the riverside. “The noise that will be intolerable for people down here will still be invasive,” she said at the hilltop. More people worked from home now too, and she argued increased activity “risked the ruination of a peaceful village”..

Concerned Burton residents, from l to r Kev Gray, Jenny Emmett, Steve Smith, Simon Nicholson, lined up in front of the wharf on a very wet and windy day.
Concerned Burton residents, from l to r Kev Gray, Jenny Emmett, Steve Smith, Simon Nicholson, lined up in front of the wharf on a very wet and windy day.

Ferry House publican Steve Smith was concerned about lighting. Floodlights had been installed at the wharf. “It’s like living in Iceland during the summer” he said of lighting from the wharf at his next door pub. It was reported the parish council have queried with North Lincolnshire Council if prior planning permission was needed.

Potential effects on tourism concerned Emma. The area had “outstanding beauty”. “That’s going to change if the wharf develops, that’s going to have an impact on the caravan park,” and other businesses, she argued. The wharf is at a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Ramsar designation for important wetland habitat.

For Simon, the original wharf permission long ago was “not fit for purpose in today’s world from an access point of view”. He had raised concerns with MCL Solutions Ltd and received a response about its liaising with the parish council. The company has held a virtual meeting with members of the parish council.

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“Back in the day, this village wasn’t coping with the wharf back then,” said Roger. Emma added “it is kind of obvious” that the residential nature of the area made it unsuitable for the wharf.

The Kingsferry Wharf’s website and LinkedIn page run by MCL Solutions Ltd highlight renovations carried out since becoming the tenants a year or so ago. New equipment including cranes has come in and the first commercial vessel in many years used the wharf this autumn.

Posts advertise the wharf’s storage facilities and cargo discharging abilities. It is described as a “newly renovated wharf with immediate availability for all your shipping, storage and logistic requirements”.

The opposed residents acknowledged when the wharf was created some in the village viewed its possible economic benefits. But they were not convinced of this, and were determined to continue to campaign against the wharf becoming regularly active again.

MCL Solutions Ltd were reached out to for opportunity to comment.

Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe

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