A COASTAL regeneration chief has responded to criticism about an apparent lack of facilities at a seaside resort.
Niall Benson, Durham Heritage Coast officer responsible for the overseeing of Crimdon Dene, spoke after Blackhall councillor Alan Cox appeared in the Mail calling for regeneration of the dene.
Coun Cox, who represents the village on Durham County Council, wants a return of Crimdon’s 1960s and 1970s heyday, where facilities included a pavilion, toilets, fairgrounds, beauty contests, beach facilities and paddling pools and somewhere under cover for visitors to go.
Durham County Council chiefs had said although the local authority had “limited resources” in the current economic climate, they were willing to meet Coun Cox to discuss his ideas.
Mr Benson said he would welcome basic facilities such as working toilets, seating and somewhere to get refreshments.
He added: “While I can understand the county council’s point, Crimdon is being used by a different audience now. It is being used more and more now and there has been lots of investment in Crimdon Dene caravan park. More and more people are using the dene every day.”
He added that £25,000 of signage including a welcome sign and information boards is on the way to Crimdon, as well as some new tree-planting.
Mr Benson said: “The place doesn’t have any signage at the moment. People aren’t aware of the conservation. I think there should be more facilities for visitors.
“People can’t use the toilets. “I agree entirely with Councillor Cox in terms of covered protection for visitors.
“We need to get the basics right.”
Mr Benson added that signage would help inform people of the need to keep disturbance of a visiting colony of terns to a minimum.
Keith Parkinson, Streetscene manager at Durham County Council, said: “We are currently in discussions with all parties concerned to establish the best way forward for these toilets and the pros and cons of having them removed.
“It costs council tax payers £42,000 a year to maintain and operate the two toilet blocks which have also twice been victim of thieves who caused significant damage removing copper cables from the facility.
“Talks are at an early stage but we there is no doubt the matter needs to be addressed and we are working hard to do that.”