This is a page for those people, like me, who want to preserve the Spurn Heritage
Coast from inappropriate development.
Kilnsea is a small hamlet in south-east Holderness, and its main claim to fame is
as the gateway to the Spurn peninsula. People have come for many years to enjoy the
peace and quiet, and the large area of dunes on Spurn Point (the only such area of
dunes on the east coast). Bird-watchers come to the area, especially in spring and
autumn, the migration periods. In 2011 a new area, Kilnsea wetlands,
was constructed, with large pools to attract wintering birds and to replace areas
soon to be lost through erosion of the dunes adjacent to Beacon Ponds. Read more
about Spurn hereand Kilnsea here.
The 2013 surge
On December 4th 2013 everything changed in this area. Kilnsea and Spurn were badly
affected by the North Sea coastal surge. Half the buildings in the village were
flooded. At the same time the road to Spurn Point was washed away at the northern
end, and now only official four-wheel vehicles can drive over the sand to the Point.
Thankfully funding was obtained, and a flood bank for Kilnsea from near Chalky Point
to the Crown and Anchor was completed in March 2015. Nevertheless the area will always
be vulnerable, being almost surrounded by water. More information.
For the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust the 2013 surge created many problems. In 2011 the
Trust had applied for a grant from the Lottery Fund to refurbish Spurn lighthouse
and open it as a visitor centre. Many people thought that without a road to the Point
the money would not be forthcoming. Surprisingly it was decided to go ahead, and
work began in March 2015. However the lack of a road has resulted in a massive loss
of income to the YWT. The income from cars was very important to the Trust and for
many years much more money went out of Spurn to headquarters in York than was ever
spent at Spurn. Now, apart from the rent from its tenants, the RNLI and ABP, Spurn
no longer generates money for the Trust.
E.ON and the proposed YWT Visitor Centre
In 2011, when plans were announced by E.ON to build a massive wind farm of over 60
turbines just off the coast of Easington/Kilnsea, with the landfall of the electricity
cables at Easington, the community were confident that the company would wish to
However nothing was heard from the Humber Gateway turbine people until May 2014,
when at an Easington Parish Council meeting two representatives came to talk about
the scheme. They explained that two million pounds had been set aside for 'The community'.
They told councillors that the bulk of it (almost a million pounds) was to be given
to the building of a new Information Centre and a large coach and car park in Kilnsea
for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The two EON representatives were told very vehemently
that no consultation had taken place with anyone in the community, and that a Visitor
Centre was unwanted. It turned out that E.ON thought that talking to the East Riding
of Yorkshire Council and the YWT was talking to local people!
The proposed site
The choice of site is a strange one for the YWT (a conservation organisation). It
is on a little triangular field at the end of the Canal.
This field was managed from 2011 under Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship
scheme, and until the 2013 surge it was grazed from September to April. This was
intended to keep the grass short to create suitable habitat for feeding waders and
migrants, and in the summer it has been full of purple vetch and other wild flowers,
and attractive to bees, butterflies and moths. After the floods it was left to recover,
but in late 2014/early 2015 sheep have been brought back to graze it. Surrounding
the field are somewhat stunted trees and bushes, many planted by the Spurn Heritage
Coast Project in the early 1990s, when Canal Scrape was created, and Canal Scrape
hide was built. This area is now a very important part of a wildlife corridor along
the Humber. There are very few such little havens of bushes, trees and water in Kilnsea.
Migrating birds find it a useful resting place. It is part of the Kilnsea Triangle
Walk, which goes from the Crown and Anchor, along the Canal, to the hide, and back
via the road to the Blue Bell and thence past the church.
The architect’s proposals
The artist’s impression is totally misleading so we have made a new one. We now have
four new mock-ups which show the massive mast which ABP want to place on the building
(they have told us it could go elsewhere, even on the gas site at Easington)
My description – the building is modern and ugly, bearing no relationship to the
vernacular style of the area. It would be visible just about anywhere in Kilnsea,
as its height, and the lack of any tall vegetation nearby, would mean that it would
dominate its surroundings. An ‘amphitheatre’ for outside events, and bird-feeding
stations have been incorporated into the design.So is the plan for a tamed landscape?
Something to make people feel they haven’t come to a wild place at all? Yes! A café,
display areas, educational rooms, toilets and offices are included in the building.
The coach & car park: another source of income for the YWT?
On the eastern side of the road, opposite the entrance to Canal Scrape car park would
be a new car park for 77 cars and coaches. This would be placed just under the flood
bank in a section of the field currently flooded in winter. A possible problem? Certainly
more loss of habitat.
No road barrier
The architect’s drawings (above) show a road barrier, but we have been told that
this is no longer the intention. They want ‘traffic control measure’s’. We have
also been told that residents of Easington parish will be able to use the new car
parks without charge. But as car-parking in Kilnsea has always been free that seems
a rather pointless privilege!
The local reaction —‘a carbuncle’, a ‘white elephant’
Just about no one locally can see how this centre will benefit the parish. If it
does anything it will increase the number of people who will come expecting to be
able to continue to enjoy the Spurn peninsula. However you need to be a fit active
person to be able to walk down there and back. The Unimog purchased for the YWT by
Natural England does not solve the problem of access because it can only be used
for so-called’ Spurn safaris’ for two to three hour trips at £10 per head at weekends.
(family rates cheaper). So Spurn Point is no longer easily accessible for those would
find a walk of 7-8 miles there and back impracticable. If they are lured to Kilnsea
by a new visitor centre where will they all go? Kilnsea is a very small place. When
people were able to drive down Spurn they could enjoy miles of sand dunes and would
hardly be noticed, even in the height of summer. But Kilnsea beach is only small,
and is cluttered with concrete, and there are no little paths through dunes in Kilnsea.
And the YWT already has a perfectly adequate (albeit underused) café and Information
Centre at the Blue Bell. A petition was taken around Easington and Kilnsea in late
2014 and the result was striking. Local people do not want a visitor centre, especially
a huge one, funded by E.ON, and located in a sensitive area. We do of course continue
to welcome visitors as we want to share this lovely untouched place.
The matter of the funding is perhaps the most contentious. Other off-shore wind farms
have spread their community funds more fairly than this one appears to be doing.
In December 2014 it was revealed that as Associated British Ports (ABP) are abandoning
the Vessel Tracking Service (VTS) tower at the Point they want to incorporate a new
radar mast on the new Visitor Centre. It has been pointed out to ABP that no-one
in Kilnsea would object to a radar mast as it is essential for safety at sea and
in the estuary. But to place it upon an unwanted Visitor Centre would be to associate
ABP, which has always been a popular business locally, with a disastrous potential
white elephant. Not only is the proposed building totally out of keeping with Kilnsea,
but apparently it will open every day of the year. In Kilnsea? When no-one comes
to this area in winter but a few anglers, hardy bird-watchers, and relations of residents?
A Facebook site was started in December 2014 (‘No to Spurn’s YWT Visitor Centre)
and a petition was set up. It now has over 700 signatures. A meeting between the
YWT and EON and some of those opposed to the Visitor Centre took place. E.ON was
left in no doubt that this enterprise is unpopular with local people. A few weeks
after the meeting people in the parish received a leaflet, which included details
of the so-called Community Fund — £100,000 to be divided between 12 villages between
the coast and Hedon!!! The parish is to be fobbed off with a paltry share, up to
a maximum of £10,000, with strict criteria and restrictions, which may be hard to
meet for some organisations. Not only are residents of Easington/Kilnsea to have
their views of the sea marred by an enormous wind farm, they are expected to look
at the unwelcome monstrosity and blot on a natural landscape of the proposed visitor
centre. All this in the little village of Kilnsea.
The current situation
Now that the application has been passed you can watch carefully how the Yorkshire
Wildlife Trust fulfils the many conditions put in place. Those of us who love the
area want people to enjoy it, because we know it is a very special place. Local people
are not the only ones opposed to these plans. Most visitors come to enjoy the relative
wildness of the Spurn Heritage Coast. As the current custodians, the YWT has a duty
of care for this area, and as a conservation body should be protecting and not exploiting
the Spurn Heritage Coast.
It is now necessary to continue our battle to preserve what we can of the Spurn Heritage
I am unhappy about the situation but I know that those of us who fought to stop this
development did all in our power. We will continue to campaign to KEEP SPURN WILD!
KeepSpurnWild 9 January2016
DidyouknowthatYWTalreadyhaveavisitorcentre,the BluebellinKilnsea.Howeverfollowingthepublicmeetingin July2015itwasre-badgedasacafewithin7days,afterlocal people like you and I challenged YWT to the fact they already have a
Keep Spurn Wild Action Group and local people, contrary to media attention, welcome
visitors to Spurn as we believe they will be good for the local economy but more
importantly, SpurnPeninsulaisoneofthelast trulywildareasinEastYorkshire,
and should be enjoyed byall.
However the group has profound concerns when it comes to building a new visitor centre
on a green field site at Spurn, when there are more suitableoptions,thatwillhaveno impact on the ecological footprint or damage the unique landscapeSpurnhastooffer.
If you feel like we do, that this situationisunacceptable,please voice your objections
by writing to:
East Riding Council County Hall Beverley
Did you know, YWT hope to attract 60,000 visitors to Spurnayear,toaccommodatethesevisitors,YWTareonly creatingacarparkwith78parkingplaces.Toensurethatall use the YWT car park, YWT claim they are going to ask ERYCtoprovidetraﬃccontrolmeasures.
Didyouknow,YWTwereoﬀeredalternativesitesfortheir visitor centre, one option
was Southfield farm, these alternatives were not even considered by YWT and they
remain hell-bent on damaging theenvironment.
Did you know, using YWT’s projection of 60,000 visitors perannum,equatestoarequirementofupto192.3carpark placesperday.GiventhatYWTarecreatinga78placecar
Didyouknow,sincethebreachatSpurninDecember2013, YWT have abandoned providing
staﬀ at the access gate at Spurn, (probably due to the fact they can no longer collect
revenuefromvisitingcars)whichpresentsahugehealthand safety risk to visitors.
Since the breach many visitors have been regularly stranded on the south side and
some even requiring rescue from the coastguard and the RNLI. The increase from current
10,000/20,000 visitors to YWT projectionof60,0000willbeahugehealthandsafetyriskto visitors.
Didyouknow,E-onstatedthatshouldthe YWT Planning application be unsuccessfulthe£900,000.00wouldbe returned to thecommunity.