residents call on council to improve safety of 'neglected' path
group of Burnham-On-Sea residents has called on local councils
to make long-awaited safety improvements to a 'neglected' footpath.
at Retreat Holiday Park say the sand has built up so high along
a public footpath from the beach that people can look into their
homes, causing privacy and safety concerns.
have been calling on Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District
Council to help for several months, but so far their calls have
fallen on deaf ears.
park's Debbie March, pictured, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "For
a number of years we cleared the path ourselves because the council
refused to do it but for health and safety reasons we're not allowed
to clear it any more because it's not our land - it's a public
right of way."
have been trying to get the county and district councils to take
responsibility for this public right of way, not just to remove
the sand along the fence, but to make it a path that people can
use to safely walk onto the beach."
sand has blown up the path in recent years and there's now a very
steep incline for walkers leaving the beach from the low lighthouse
up to Gore Road, which is a route used by many local residents."
can now stand at the top of fence height and look straight into
people's gardens and homes on the other side in our park - this
poses privacy and security concerns."
have spoken to the district and county councils and they each
say its others responsibility, which is very frustrating."
have also written to and spoken with our MP and other people,
but they all say it's other's problems."
want to highlight the issue and hopefully encourage someone to
come forward and take responsibility to clear the path."
Tom Bedford, who has sent many letters to local councils to try
and get action, adds: "In the beginning I contacted the Town
Council who said it was not in their remit and suggested Sedgemoor
District Council who said it was not their responsibility, so
my next course of action was Tessa Munt - the then MP - who delegated
one of her aides to try all the avenues open to him, but alas
with no joy."
then contacted Sedgemoor District Council again and got Mr Richard
Dunne to visit the site to assess the situation. We dug down the
side of the fence and agreed that the sand was approximately 18
inches above the weather board of the fence. I then spoke with
another person from the District Council who visited the site,
but did not give me any answers."
this time the MP had changed so I contacted James Heappey but
alas he didn't give me the impression that he was interested,
and he said I should speak with my MP in Hertfordshire. So then
it was back to Somerset County Council - unfortunately I could
not speak with the leader of the council but was passed on to
Mr Geoff Dight, who managed to get Mr Peter Hobley to contact
me. We then arranged a meeting on site which took place recently
- he agreed that the sand was high but did not see it as a problem
to the public. During this visit we spoke with three members of
the public who said that they can remember the path being kept
in good order over the years."
invited representatives from the councils to comment on the situation.
Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman said: "As the path
is a public right of way, it is a Somerset County Council responsibility.
Sedgemoor District Council are contracted by Somerset County Council
to cut grass three times a year and that is our only involvement."
Somerset County Council spokesman added: "The footpath concerned
goes across a sand dune system and it is natural for the height
of the sand and the path to change over time. The County Council
has never cleared sand from the path but we understand that this
was done in the past by a third party. The path has been inspected
recently and was found to be acceptable for public use."