Coastal path situation branded absurd by Isle of Wight CLA

By a County Press reporter

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

 

UPDATED TUESDAY 09:44

THE COUNTRY Land and Business Association (CLA) on the Isle of Wight has hit out over government plans to create a coastal path around the whole of the Island, branding the proposals an absurd waste of taxpayer’s money.

As previously reported, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has decided that public access to the Island’s coast will now be reviewed by Natural England as part of a project to create a long distance path along England’s coastline.

Belinda Walters, CLA director Isle of Wight, said: "We are very disappointed with the announcement that the Island should be included within the legislation, reversing a sensible decision from the previous consultation exercise.

"The Isle of Wight already has very good coastal access, including a coastal path around 67 miles long which is signed and promoted as such for Island walkers and visitors.

"Along with the existing coastal path, it is widely acknowledged that there is a higher density of footpaths on the Isle of Wight than anywhere else in the UK.

"The long and unwarranted coastal access process will be a huge waste of taxpayer’s money and a waste of Natural England’s time and resources."

She added: "It has been claimed that changing current coastal access arrangements will provide a huge economic boost for the Island, but this is simply not the case.

"Marginal increases to coastal access will not attract thousands of additional tourists who would not have visited the Island otherwise, and for some rural businesses, changes could have a detrimental effect.

"The risk must also be that whilst waiting for this process to begin, visitors will be put off visiting the Island as our existing valuable coastal path will be ignored.

"The coastal access process through Natural England will take several years to complete. To add to the absurdity of the situation, it is possible that the review’s outcome will not result in changes to the current access arrangements anyway."

*Isle of Wight NFU adviser, James Osman, said creating the costal path could have a negative effect on both wildlife and farming on the Isle of Wight.

He said: "The Isle of Wight already has 67 miles of coastal path and 500 miles of other public rights of way. The creation of a new path would duplicate the existing resource and may prevent other sections of path from being established. This would represent an extraordinary waste of resources and a wasted opportunity to complete other sections of coastal path in England on an already limited budget."

He added: "We suggest that an additional path and additional recreational access would unfairly discriminate against farming interests on the Island, which is contrary to the published guidance that the path must strike a fair balance between public access and relevant land interests."

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Displaying the last 10 of 12 comments - Show All Comments

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by david wright

15th July 2014, at 14:43:50

The reactions to this whole thing makes me laugh. It is just an announcement of a REVIEW,nothing else.
How are they going to fund and maintain anything new when anyone who walks the T1 west wight coastal path will know it has almost grown over in places and is only still there due to the determination of those still using it!!
Lets try and get what we have maintained before we get the bunting out to celebrate anything new!!

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by Robin Joy

15th July 2014, at 12:50:52

I've no axe to grind, but, for instance, the one kilometer section of sea wall between East Cowes and Osborne was a total wreck last time I went past by boat. I'd be astonished if it could be properly repaired for less than a million. Maybe loads more. Who's going to pay for that to make it safe for walkers? And that's just a 1km bit!

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by Steve Laser

15th July 2014, at 12:11:37

This is fantastic news, and I like many think we should never have been left out in the first place. The "Garden Isle" is a place where people should be able to walk near the Coast and be able to look out to sea from cliff tops and fields.
We already have paths that have been damaged by coastal erosion and some land owners are not keen to assist the IWC to restore them. Its not just farmers that shout "get off my land" we have plenty of property owners who think they own the beaches now, and they don't look like Royalty to me.
This is the start of the new "Walk the Wight" but around the Coast at last!
Well done to all those who pushed this to its proper successful conclusion and thank you from all of us who will use these new paths in the future.

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by Colin Barton

15th July 2014, at 10:50:43

Don, leave your address and we can all come to your backyard and have a party

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by Joe Norman

15th July 2014, at 10:13:17

Great news. E Cowes to Wootton without the busy main road with no pavement!.

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by Alex Pick

14th July 2014, at 22:22:52

Taxpayer's have lost so much money on things we do not want over the years. What's new?

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by Den Young

14th July 2014, at 21:27:41

WS will be soon

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by Helen Wood

14th July 2014, at 20:51:41

It's only absurd if you don't want people having access to your land. The reason we have a network of accessible paths in this county is thanks to the trailblazers who fought for that right in the 1920s. Now to the Isle of Wight - being part of the UK coastal path scheme will mean we are a national trail. This will put on the IW on the worldwide walking map ....and the benefit of that is millions of tourist pounds. Having an existing path is great, but it isn't the same as being part of the UK national trail. This is marvellous news and a huge gift to the island for the future. Anyway, this isn't about replacing an existing path, it's about incorporating new routes where there currently are none, re branding the whole lot and selling to the whole world. Walking is HUGE business ....and the IW will benefit in the future.

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by Patrick Hall

14th July 2014, at 15:59:20

Speaking purely for myself, I don't find as issue with the existing coastal path, except for the section between East Cowes and Wootton, where walkers have to use public roads largely without pavements. I realise that the creation of a new right of way would involve the Osborne Estate and former Forestry Commission land, but cannot understand why this is such a big deal. There are already numerous permissive paths in existence in the Island so perhaps such agreements may be all that is required to make a safer and more popular footpath along the coastline.

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by William Sykes

14th July 2014, at 15:41:51

The current " coastal path" is nowhere near the coast in some areas.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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