Row over future of Wellingborough’s beach continues

Wellingborough. Market Street. Beach comes to Market street. ENGNNL00120130308144119
Wellingborough. Market Street. Beach comes to Market street. ENGNNL00120130308144119

Wellingborough Council has defied cries of “that’s the way to do it” in a row over the location of the town’s beach.

The popular seaside attraction has previously been held in Market Street, where Wellingborough BID wants it to be held again this summer, but the council says to do so will damage historic mosaics.

The council wants it to be held in the market event space and has said it will hold it using Section 106 money if BID declines to do so.

But BID says support for holding it in Market Street is overwhelming, with a survey of 243 businesses and shoppers seeing 87 per cent vote in favour of it and just 13 per cent opting for the council’s preferred option.

Wellingborough BID executive director John Cable said: “The public have spoken and it is clear there is overwhelming support for a return to Market Street for our much-loved beach.

“It’s time to draw a line in the sand and give town centre visitors the beach they want and deserve.”

The beach, organised by Discover Wellingborough, the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) paid for by town centre businesses, is seen as the highlight of the annual Wellingborough events calendar.

Mr Cable said the group would insure the mosaics to allay the council’s fears of damage.

He added: “There will categorically not be any damage to the mosaic.

“We held the event for three years there without any damage whatsoever and we’re so confident about this we’re even prepared to insure against it.”

Wellingborough Council has maintained that if the BID decides not to go ahead with the beach event then the council will use Section 106 money to ensure that a similar event is put on this year.

A council spokesman said: “Our Market Working Group have been clear that they want to revitalise the market and make use of the dedicated event space wherever possible to help support our market traders.

“Authorisation for events in the town centre is generally relaxed but with the one proviso that they do not take place on top of the mosaics.

“The council is primarily concerned that taxpayers’ money spent on the mosaics is not wasted on further repair works resulting from any event.

“These mosiacs are already beginning to show signs of deterioration so we would not wish this to get worse.

“The council would always prefer arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, but so far we have not managed to do so on this occasion.

“If the BID have an alternative proposal that does not involve the use of the mosaic area we would be willing to consider it.”