AS MUCH as I love our Mere and treasure the memories of its heyday, I’m afraid my feelings about the plans outlined in your report of March 26 are rather less enthusiastic than those expressed by your columnist Mick Jefferson on April 4.
Of course, I am in favour of any proposals that will, I quote, “Breathe new life into an under-used resource” but am still mindful of the missed opportunity of the wonderful Bea Health proposal of almost 12 years ago.
At that time, the Bea Health firm had planned to invest almost £2 million in developing an area of approximately 900 square metres, including exhibition space, a restaurant, car parking, boating and, most importantly, public toilets. To my mind, and with all due respect to the highly creditable achievements of the Mere Angling Club and Friends of the Mere, this was a scheme that would probably have led to even greater regeneration of the entire site.
Despite the enthusiasm of most councillors for these proposals in the early stages, the scheme was eventually abandoned when the firm refused to accept the council’s demand for payment (£250,000 per acre) or rent (£70,000 per year). Enough said?
Quite obviously, among other former delights, there is absolutely no return to the days of Treasure Island, with most of today’s youngsters having been brought up with the Pirates of the Caribbean. Long gone are the days when children were children and not young adults as visualised by, I believe, many of my generation. Those days when schoolboys wore short trousers; nowadays it’s just the postmen.
I was interested in Mick Jefferson’s suggestion regarding “a safe crossing” of the railway lines between the Park and Ride and south end of the Mere.
Assuming this refers to a footbridge, or even an automatic crossing controlled from Scarborough or Seamer stations, I think the questions of cost and safety would present major problems. In any case, such access would still leave pedestrians quite a walk to the proposed facilities, and, given such footfall, the requirements of the Mere Angling Club would also have to be considered.
However, since any plans for the north end of the Mere will probably need to be considered in conjunction with the Mount Masterplan, I shall await the outcome with great interest, and echo Mick Jefferson’s call for everyone involved to do all possible to help to ensure that the venture gets every chance to succeed.