Saturday, 13 February 2016

Fred's Redcar Coatham Dune Complaint and petition

PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO SHOW YOUR VOICE 

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/conserve-coatham-dunes



Following a lack of action from RCBC, Natural England and the HSE we held a demonstration on the dunes to highlight the issue. Scroll down below emails to find images.

For more images regarding this complaint please go to:

http://friendsofredcar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/a-plea-to-redcar-residents-from-fred.html





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Please find below emails to the Health and Safety Executive regarding Coatham Dunes. This complaint was initially registered by RedcarLoveItorHateit.com (Red Car)

The complaint was officially registered with the HSE on 14th June 2014 and FRED took on the complaint from the 14th August 2014. They did little to support us.

From: Red Car 
Sent: 14 June 2014 00:44
To: concerns
Subject: Dangerous Park and beach
Dear Sir,

Redcar and Cleveland Council are neglecting safety where our kids are playing. How long before there is a serious accident? Please investigate. Complaints about the beach have been going on for a year and complaints are being made officially and by numerous sources. Please get involved as they simply do not care. 


-- 

Yours sincerely,

Red Car


redcarloveitorhateit




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On Monday, 16 June 2014, Health and Safety Executive <Keeley.Eves@hse.gsi.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,


Thank you for your email.


Can you please provide a full address for the park?


Can you also please confirm if Redcar and Cleveland Council has responded in any way to the complaints previously raised?


I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible in order for HSE to assist - please note that I will be out of the office from Thursday 19 June until Monday 30 June.


Many thanks


Keeley




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On Tuesday, 17 June 2014, Red Car:

Dear Keeley,


At present all we've had is a generic message from RCBC regarding the complaint which I can forward to you on request.


The address of the park is at best, Green Gates Play Park - it is on the Roseberry fields and alongside Low Farm Drive in Redcar. 


The beach issue is actually much worse. (Glass, bottles, cans, broken masonry) Coatham Dunes are set out directly in front of the caravan park where holiday makers send there kids out to play while they're in their caravans blissfully unaware that their barefoot children are playing on a death trap. This is no exaggeration. Please close this area down. The council are well aware it exists but make no effort to do anything.


We wish to remain anonymous but are happy to forward this information to Friends of Redcar (FRED) who will represent our complaint (see cc.) We have discussed this matter with the Chairman of FRED who is happy to make contact and meet your representative to show you these areas if required.


Yours sincerely,


Red Car


redcarloveitorhateit



7th August 2014


Dear Keeley,


Please note we have resolved the play park issue. The issue of the dunes still stands. This area is a major accident waiting to happen. Please help us and Redcar to get our council to sit up and listen before it's too late.


Yours sincerely,


Red Car


redcarloveitorhateit




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7th August 2014 <friendsofredcar@gmail.com>

Hi Red,

Thanks for re-raising this. We are on this too as you know and after our AGM this will be top of our agenda. The problem is these dunes were developed artificially in the 1980's to act as a wind break and sand barrier but  dissipation over the years and whatever was used to "seal" in the masonry didn't work. They are looking bleak and youths get down there too and add to the problem.

We agree it's very dangerous and should be closed to public. I've been down and seen it first hand and have used your images, as well as our own, to highlight the problem.

I have copied in George Dunning, Brian McClean and Andrew Pearson of the Council so they are aware of your post. This issue has been discussed with RCBC and we are all determined to find a solution together. 

I've also copied in First Choice Skips who may be able to help with some of the solution.

One thing is certain we need to resolve this -these dunes cannot be left like this as it harms Redcar as a seaside town trying to encourage tourism and trade.

Thanks again for this.

Carl Quartermain (FRED)



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12th August 2014

Red Car  



We are an anonymous group who raise issues on social media on behalf of residents and our town. We defer complaints to various interested groups, individuals, councillors, community groups and even local authority officers without bias.


Issues such as this one is taken up either directly or indirectly and thereafter becomes the new "owners" complaint.


We merely provide a service as the eyes and ears of Redcar. We are not confined by ego, office or politics we simply want to pass on issue that benefit Redcar. Whoever can achieve a solution can take the publicity and plaudits.


In this instance FRED (cc.) has once again picked this up because it reflects the work they do on the beach. This is therefore their complaint and all communication should now be directed through them.


Similarly if ever an issue comes up and your office wish to champion it feel free to use our useful service. 


We have a number of complaints waiting to go out. Please check our social media as these issues are always made public. 


Yours sincerely,


Red Car


redcarloveitorhateit




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14th August 2014
<friendsofredcar@gmail.com>


In relation to Coatham Sand Dunes, the complaint is well known to the council by now. I forwarded the last email from Red Car to yourselves and a number of other officers and relevant people because of the concern being raised to the HSE. We're happy to carry this complaint forward from here on in.

Having corresponded with Red Car privately it is borne out of the inactivity and frustration  over such a serious issue that was raised initially many months ago and deemed by them as a death trap. We share this emotion and wouldn't be surprised if minor accidents have already been recorded over the years. 

Having visited the site on separate occasions subsequently (and along with relevant council officers) we can only agree with the description and would seek either an immediate solution or closure of the dunes until resolved.

I would add that it would be irresponsible of me and our group to ignore this situation for much longer without having had any positive solution or reaction. 

We too are also considering what other options would be available if the council are not forthcoming. Denial is not an option for us we simply must improve our efforts towards tourism and safety. Having been vocal about the rubble on our main beach area we now have a beach cleaner than at any time in the past. 

This is not to work against the council but out of a genuine fear that a serious accident is possible and how that would affect us as a community with prior knowledge.

As closure would be detrimental to our seaside town, a solution ASAP and an actionable response by the council would be most welcome. 

The last we heard of the complaint was on the 7th August.

I have spoken with First Choice Skips who may be able to support but in all honesty there is no quick or cheap fix to this. The masonry must be sealed prior to being covered in sand because visitor's children and residents are not discouraged from using this as a play area. I have personally seen them doing somersaults and cartwheels in amongst this sand hidden building material - it's scary.

Thank you for your response and we look forward to seeing if you have any more success than we've had.

Carl Quartermain (FRED)



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16th September 2014
concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk

Dear Sir or Madam


We have been asked by the council to provide a more detailed location, the sand dunes run for over 2.5 miles and not all is council ownership.


Regards

Joanne Cross
Concerns Officer
FOD HQ Concerns & Advisory Team 
Health & Safety Executive | 2.3 Redgrave Court |  Merton Road |  Bootle | Merseyside | L20 7HS |
:  concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk
 Useful link:  www.hse.gov.uk



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16th September 2014 
<friendsofredcar@gmail.com>

Dear Joanne,

I am dismayed although unsurprised by your reply. After waiting some considerable time I interpret this as being pawned off by the very office who should be more concerned with public safety than the finite details of ownership.

It is our prerogative as a community group and as residents to advise your office of what we deem as unsafe for public use after having exasperated local official avenues. 

Whether this is council or private property and what proportion that takes is not our concern. It is yours.

Which parts are dangerous (deadly)? The council and your office have already been highlighted to the dangers and sent images of the specific area. Council officials and councillors have been accompanied by myself to the dunes along the caravan park at Majuba. The awareness is already in place.

We have records of all dates, the complaints made to FRED, our advice/complaints to the council, our discussions, walkabouts etc. I can assure you if there is a fatality or serious claim against negligence while we bat this issue about, I will ensure full transparency of this complaint and the timeline. 

Having had no satisfactory outcome we are left with no option other than to act before a serious accident happens. I would therefore suggest that this be a matter for you to investigate forthwith. 

As Chairman of a community group trying to improve aesthetics, community pride and overall safety from the bottom up, I would be happy to direct you to what has been described as a "death trap" by numerous complainants to our group.

I would be available to accompany your officers and a relevant council officer to look over the site and thereafter you can determine who owns what and what action is required.  Thereafter you can address us of progress.

In the meantime we shall await your reply with patience and would hope that RCBC will also act suitably and offer up a solution. 



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18th September 2014 
concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk

Dear Fred

The HSE are making enquiries with the council and our Principal Inspector is now involved.  We will communicate our findings to you.

Regards

Joanne Cross
Concerns Officer
FOD HQ Concerns & Advisory Team 
Health & Safety Executive | 2.3 Redgrave Court |  Merton Road |  Bootle | Merseyside | L20 7HS |
:  concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk
 Useful link:  www.hse.gov.uk 



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23rd September 2014  <friendsofredcar@gmail.com>


Dear Joanne,

Please forward this blog to your Principle Inspector and submit it as evidence towards our complaint. Thank you.

http://friendsofredcar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/a-plea-to-redcar-residents-from-fred.html


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8th November 2014 
concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk

Dear Mr Redcar,


Thank you for your concern received here on 7.8.2014.   I apologise for the delay in replying but this was to allow Redcar and Cleveland Council to conduct a thorough enquiry into your comments about the beach at Coatham.  I have now received their reply.


Redcar and Cleveland Council (R&C) own about 50% of the beach area between the main beach car park in the east and the South Gare.  The east end of the beach makes up that property.  Investigations have shown that the area is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) attracting restrictions on its management imposed by English Nature.


The Council have looked at why masonry and other debris is being exposed near the dunes.  It appears that the natural process of dune development has shifted, resulting in sand being blown from some areas and deposited as new dunes elsewhere.  Obviously this natural process can be affected by weather and is not a process that can be stopped.  The designation as an SSSI means that interference in these processes is limited and in the list of potential actions I have seen, the dumping of material or removal of material is restricted to avoid upsetting the balance of the ecosystem.  This may mean that unsightly debris previously buried by the sand dunes can become exposed.


Having said that this is an natural process, I have reminded the Council that in the areas they own they still have duties to reduce risks so far as is reasonably practicable as required by the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and other associated legislation.  I have therefore asked that a formal assessment of the risks is made in the dune areas.  This should identify a hierarchy of risks in a logical and formal manner.  The Council then need to manage the risks adopting controls which are reasonably practicable – a balance has to be struck between the costs of the controls needed and the benefits resulting. 


Once the assessment is completed, some work may be required but this is unlikely to result in the removal or covering of the masonry exposed as the dunes move.  I have requested that the council regularly review the risk assessment as the situation on the beach changes  to ensure that as the dunes change any high risks are dealt with.


Regards

Joanne Cross
Concerns Officer
FOD HQ Concerns & Advisory Team 
Health & Safety Executive | 2.3 Redgrave Court |  Merton Road |  Bootle | Merseyside | L20 7HS |
:  concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk
 Useful link:  www.hse.gov.uk 



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2nd December 2014
<friendsofredcar@gmail.com>

Dear Joanne,

Thank you for your email of the 8th November. Please note there are a number of community groups who request action to this issue. Please can you respond to our initial questions below.

Did you provide the council with a timeline to develop their risk assessment and if not what would you deem a reasonable response time regarding the nature of the risk?

Will your department be responsible to ensure the risk assessment is adequate or are you solely reliant on the judgement of the council?

Will you or the council be keeping our groups informed throughout our complaint?

Are you or the council interested in our considered opinion/solutions before or after a risk assessment is conducted?

If we are dissatisfied with the outcomes delivered by the HSE or by the council, whether we deem them inadequate, ineffective or inappropriate how would we go about appealing and who would we appeal to?


Thank you. We look forward to your reply at your earliest convenience.

Carl Quartermain



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13th January 2015
<friendsofredcar@gmail.com>

Dear Joanne,

We trust you had a good Christmas. 

As it is over a month since our last email we would request an update to the questions posed and information over what action has been taken.

Thank you.

Carl Quartermain



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12th February 2015
<friendsofredcar@gmail.com>

Dear Joanne,

Having waited patiently for a reply to our questions dated 2nd December 2014 and following a further request on the 13th January with no response I would ask that you forward our complaint to your Principle Officer so that we can receive a concerted action. A reply would be most welcome from your Principle Officer to our questions outlined in our email 2nd December 2014. We would also like to know who the responsible officer you are dealing with within Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council as there appears to be ambiguity amongst those we have spoken to.

We would have expected the HSE, responsible with public safety, to act when an authority is not responding adequately over the safety of the public. We are dismayed that your office appears to show little interest in this complaint. Where is the interim solution until a long term solution has been considered? We have valid suggestions that have yet to be asked for that would be relatively cheap, protect the public, dunes and encourage wildlife. 

We do not appreciate being fobbed off or ignored. With another Summer fast approaching and holidaymakers ready to take up caravans in the camp site behind these dunes we believe action is urgent. We believe your office is charged with that responsibility. It is not right that residents and active members of the community are paralysed to act or contribute to making this area safe. 

To recap on this complaint please check the links below.

http://friendsofredcar.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/coatham-dune-complaint-and-hse.html
http://friendsofredcar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/a-plea-to-redcar-residents-from-fred.html

"The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness. It acts in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain's workplaces."

Carl Quartermain Chairman of FRED, and on behalf of Zetland Pride, Friends of Dormanstown and the residents of Redcar.

Best Regards,

Carl Quartermain (Chairman)



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Friday, 13 February 2015, concerns@hse.gsi.gov.uk

Dear Mr Redcar,

I can’t apologise enough for the delay.  I communicated largely with our inspector who had been liaising with a contact in Redcar and Cleveland Council.  We had experienced some delay in receiving the information and in addition to that believed that I had sent the response to you.
The e-mail drafted by our Principal Inspector is as follows:-
Thank you for your email of 2 December 2014 and apologies for the delay in replying to you.  In answer to your questions;

HSE has confirmed that a risk assessment of the dunes has been completed as requested during discussions with Council officers.  The assessment has identified no high risk areas in need of immediate work.  Consideration was given to whether there are large areas of broken glass or jagged metal structures which could cause serious injuries to users of the dunes.
The responsibility for managing the risks in the dunes rests with Redcar and Cleveland BC for those areas they own.  This management should include  a review of the risk assessment either on the basis of time elapsed or if significant changes occur to the area which are unexpected.  The Council have agreed to carry out this management.

You ask about keeping in touch with “community groups” who are interested in the concerns relating to the dunes.   As the organisation responsible for managing the risks in those areas of the dunes owned by the Council, you would have access to more detailed information if you address your questions to that organisation.  I have been told that there is a Contact Centre which will deal with your concerns.   The telephone number is 01642 774774 and there is an email account – contactus@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk which can also be used to raise your questions. 

I trust that this answers your comments and now consider this enquiry closed.
Regards 
Joanne Cross
Concerns Officer

FOD HQ Concerns & Advisory Team 



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22nd February 2015
<friendsofredcar@gmail.com>

Dear Joanne,

Please can you forward the details of your manager as we wish to complain. We shall thereafter be complaining to Mr. Richard Judge.

 It is clear to us that neither RCBC or the HSE are concerned with the dangers enough to provide adequate public safety to this issue or to open communication with our community to develop a solution.  

Being told a risk assessment has been written and not offering and sharing that information for us to see is rude. Informing us that the issue is now closed reveals that your office has either no power to act or that you do not represent the public as stated but instead protect the authorities that are neglectful over serious safety issues and to responding to their residents and groups. 

Providing us with the council telephone number is frankly, condescending. You are aware we would not direct a complaint to the HSE without having tried to get action through the council. This complaint thread was also originally from a third party who had also gone to the council with no adequate response. 

It's almost as rude as your continuance in referring to me as "Mr. Redcar". I'd consider this a compliment if it wasn't for the fact that it's down to your lack of attention and respect to this matter.

It is noted that there is no date attached to the Principle Officer reply. I can therefore only assume the reply has been quickly put together and closing the issue from your side doesn't close anything. It is simply easier for your officer to wipe their hands of it.

It is also clear that no attempt to contact the landowner of the dunes not owned by the council has been  considered.  

We are the complainant and we are not satisfied with your efforts. You have not listened to our concerns or understood the complaint.

Best Regards,

Carl Quartermain (Chairman)



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Complaints from other sources:


Following initial complaint by Olwyn Paschalis-Young on 10th March 2015 through RCBC complaint form 

--------- Complaint Start ----------
[How Received]:  website
[Complaint Details]: Redcar sand dunes are in an  appalling and dangerous condition. I'm proud of redcar and would like to know are visitors are going to be safe and wish to return.
Friends of Redcar are trying to raise the profile of redcar for visitors to enjoy what we have to offer.
The Sand Dunes need your immediate attention. DANGEROUS IF LEFT AS IT IS!
---------- Complaint End ----------




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16th March 2015

Dear Mrs Paschalis-Young

The dunes have developed naturally since the formation of the south gare, the presence of exposed debris is due to the natural accretion and depletion processes. The dunes have Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI status) and there are restrictions in regard to the activities that can be undertaken on them. 

This evidence that deposited materials have allowed the natural environment to develop has been discussed with the HSE and they understand that this is now a natural site subject to natural processes, they have also been informed of the SSSI status and restrictions in place. 
The Council have had regular contact with the HSE since August 2014 and have fully cooperated with them. Following contact with the HSE in November the dunes that are the responsibility of the Council were re-inspected.

Following the inspection none of the items recorded constituted a significant risk however the council did liaise with the Health & Safety Executive  to confirm the Councils action which will be regularly reviewed.

Rob Watts
Neighbourhood Officer
Coastal
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16th March 2015

Dear Mr . Rob Watts, 

I thank you for your reply and yet I'm appalled at the content of your message. 

The Sand Dunes need attention to prevent injuries to users whom may be unaware that they run the risk of being vulnerable given the dangers posed at the unreasonable,neglected and in my opinion; dangerous state of said Sand Dunes. 

Perhaps if you were to venture out to the Sand Dunes you would be able to make a decision to seek help in making safe the areas that are relevant to health and safety of beach users. 

I would appreciate a response to this email. 

Regards , 
Olwyn Lorna Paschalis-Young 

---------------------------------------------

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After a year of requesting support we held a demonstration. The council contacted us the next day to arrange a clean up. 





This protest was more successful in gaining some action and the following day, an agreement was received by RCBC with Natural England to work on this supposed SSSI site to undertake superficial work on Friday 10th April 2015.


Our joint effort filled up two skips of rubble and glass. 

However this superficial clean up isn't enough. We want to build the dunes up, create walkways for residents and visitors and conserve the dunes for grasses, wildlife and nesting birds to flourish. This will create added value to Redcar's tourism offer.





 









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We would suggest the following as a preventive solution but as yet have not been invited to discuss the matter. As yet until 10/04/2015 comes, no action has been taken to safeguard the public. FRED first brought the dunes to attention over a year ago.


Some suggestions to protect the public, sea grasses and wildlife:

http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/heritagemanagement/erosion/appendix_1.4.shtml

http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/heritagemanagement/erosion/appendix_1.2.shtml

http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/beaches-in-cornwall/cornwalls-sand-dunes/the-management-of-cornwalls-sand-dunes

http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/environment/conservation/ryebay/camber/managementplan.htm

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/features/recycle-your-christmas-tree-at-formby






Signage provides a clear message and can also clearly state the danger