Sandy beach could return to Newcastle

Sandy beach could return to Newcastle

5 September 2018

A RADICAL suggestion to bring a touch of French summer flair to Newcastle has been unveiled this week.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is to investigate the cost of developing an artificial beach on top of the resort’s promenade to provide the town with a certain je ne sais quoi between July and August.

The idea to bring a little Gallic flair to the resort’s sea front — similar to that along the banks of the Seine in Paris — has been suggested as a section of the main beach at Central Promenade has little sand on it. 

Ironically, the problem is exacerbated by the design of the multi-million pound promenade which deflects waves back out to sea, taking what little sand is on the beach with it.

Pop-up beaches along the banks of the Seine and in other parts of Europe are hugely popular and they could feature in Newcastle next summer with deck chairs and parasols the order of the day along a section of the picturesque promenade.

The local council is keen to make the resort more attractive to visitors, often left disappointed there is no sand where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

While council officials are also to look at the possibility of dumping hundreds of tonnes of sand on the beach, it is believed this would not be feasible as it would be washed out to sea in a very short period of time and such a scheme may not be approved by the Environment Agency.

There was unanimous support to investigate the cost of providing a pop-up beach, add sand to the existing beach and arrange a meeting with Environment Agency officials when politicians discussed the various ideas at their monthly meeting on Monday night.

They recognise that while Newcastle offers lots for local people and visitors, the absence of a sandy beach is the resort’s Achilles heel. It is something they want to try and address to make the town even more attractive to holidaymakers in particular.

Mournes councillor Laura Devlin said that due to the force of nature there was no way of maintaining a sandy beach, which was why s he believed a pop-up beach on top of the promenade was an alternative worth pursuing.

She believes the move would provide Newcastle with that ”beachy summer feel” and was pleased council officers were to examine if a temporary beach could be provided and the costs involved.

“Tourism is the district’s biggest economic driver so let’s see what more we can do to improve the product we have to offer and provide a new outdoor amenity for people in the resort as well,” she continued.

“The Environment Agency has determined, along with other coastal erosion experts, that due to the construction 

of the promenade, sand is naturally depleted from Newcastle beach and there will never be enough of it to form a usable beach. In addition, efforts to place sand on the beach would be counterproductive.

“Many countries have provided artificial beaches which have proved very successful and I think we need to look at all the options and costings for a similar scheme on our own promenade.”

Cllr Michael Ruane said he had no issue exploring the merits of a temporary beach and pointed to a successful scheme which dumped tonnes of sand on Warrenpoint beach a number of years ago.

He proposed Environment Agency officials be invited to address politicians about the possibility of adding sand to Newcastle beach with the initial focus on this project and also look at the option for a temporary beach on the promenade.

Support was also voiced by councillors Glyn Hanna, Henry Reilly, Brian Quinn and Andrew McMurray and the proposal was unanimously endorsed.