10 May 2012
Proposals for an improved coastal access route between Allonby and Whitehaven have been published for consultation today, marking the first stages of the England Coast Path in the north west of England set in motion by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
Natural England has set out proposals for an enhanced walking route to be created along the 36km of coast to provide greater access for local residents and visitors where they can walk, rest and admire the view. The route will run close to some of Cumbria’s most populated areas and pass through a variety of coastal habitats and cliff scenery.
Coastal Access legislation will enable the footpath to automatically move inland or ‘roll back’, if the route is lost to erosion for example, which means that the new route would be secure into the future.
Natural England and Cumbria County Council have met landowners and farmers to ‘walk the course’ and discuss where the new route could go. Draft proposals for the route are now open for public consultation and Natural England invites comments from all interested parties including land owners and farmers, residents, businesses and people who use the area for recreation. Feedback will help to shape the final proposals for the route and ensure that local issues are addressed.
Copies of the plans and comment forms are now available and will be displayed in libraries and tourist information centres along the stretch.
Simon Humphries, Area Manager for Natural England said; “We have had detailed discussions with landowners as well as key organisations; this has been essential and we thank them for their time. For the next twelve weeks we are inviting farmers, local residents, visitors and businesses to have their say on how we secure this landmark route. It’s important that all responses are taken into account and we look forward to hearing people’s views.”
Councillor Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for countryside access, said: “The development of a new coastal access trail gives us a real opportunity to deliver significant social and economic benefits to coastal communities and visitors to west Cumbria and a great recreational resource.”
“We have been working closely with Natural England over the past two years on the detailed planning of this project and more recently on the proposed route development. It’s important however that we get it right, and I would encourage everyone who has an interest in the proposals to engage with the consultation process and have their say.
The public consultation period will last 12 weeks, closing at 5pm on Friday 3rd August 2012. The proposals will then be finalised and submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.
The first stretch of coastal access was approved in Weymouth earlier this year, which will be open in time for people to view the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 2012 will see work continue to deliver four other stretches of improved coastal access in Durham, Kent, Norfolk and Somerset.