Agenda item

Coastal Access

(To receive a presentation from Paul Marshall, South Lincolnshire and Rutland Local Access Forum Member, on Coastal Access)


Mr Paul Marshall, South Lincolnshire & Rutland Local Access Forum Member, gave a presentation on Coastal Access within Lincolnshire.


Following his retirement, Mr Marshall moved to the Skegness area to enjoy the coast but found that he was unable to use the coastal footpaths as they were inaccessible on a mobility scooter due to the sand blowing from the beach on to the footpath.  On further investigation, he found it difficult to ascertain who was responsible for the footpaths as he was advised by the Council that this was the responsibility of the Environment Agency and the Environment Agency advising that it was the responsibility of the Council.    


As a further example, the beach at Chapel St Leonards was privately owned and not maintained by the current owner.  Two seal carcasses had been washed up on this particular beach and were left there until they became skeletons. 


Following this, Mr Marshall started a group called Skegness and District Coastal Access for All and, in 2003, they met with a Councillor from West Lindsey District Council and a representative from the Environment Agency but the conclusion was not to take any action.  Undeterred, the group liaised with a local farmer who used a digger to clear the footpath enabling it to be reopened.


Volunteers were then sought and support was received from Winthorpe Caravan Park and the Army Cadets which resulted in the footpath being cleared on a regular basis with the use of a Bobcat.  Unfortunately, a story was published on the front page of the local newspaper about a child who had been stuck with a needle on the path. The group have since worked tirelessly to ensure that this type of incident did not reoccur.


They have linked with the Government, Surfers Against Sewerage, nearby Butlins as well as the local community and undertaken a considerable amount of work to make the footpath usable.  Groups of young people from Butlins cleared 25 bags of litter in one afternoon, for example.  Although this had made a huge difference to residents and tourists alike, the problems remained.


In addition to these problems, it had become apparent that one local campaigner was canvassing the local councils, MP and volunteers to deter people from volunteering with the message that this was the "job of the Council".  As a result, volunteer numbers were dwindling and the group were now struggling to keep the momentum going.


Councillor C J Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development, Environment, Planning and Tourism, Lincolnshire County Council, was now involved as it was proposed to open a cycle path from Gibraltar Point to Chapel St Leonards.  An additional issue was the access to the coastal path on the land owned by the Golf Club, which had been previously discussed at the Local Access Forum.


The Chairman thanked Mr Marshall for his presentation and congratulated the group on their success to-date.  He then asked what the Forum could do to help.


Mr Marshall requested that the route across the Golf Course be opened.  Butlins were hiring bikes and mobility scooters to their guests but they were still unable to get to the town of Skegness due to the land on the Golf Course being inaccessible.


At a meeting with Natural England, the Countryside Access and Definitive Map Manager and the Senior Countryside Access Officer, two stretches of coast had been discussed (Norfolk to Skegness Pier and Skegness Pier to Donna Nook) and the stretch presented by Mr Marshall would be part of those discussions.  He explained that Golf Courses were exempt from spreading room but not from the national trail, which this section would form part of.  Should this go ahead and on completion of the trail, maintenance would become the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council although the build-up of sand on the trail had not been considered.  Other issues for consideration would be cattle and the landowner responsibility to make provisions to keep their cattle away from the trail. 


Natural England had asked to attend the next meeting of the Forums to discuss this issue therefore it was proposed to hold a joint meeting with the Mid Lincolnshire Local Access Forum to discuss Deregulation.




          That the Countryside Access and Definitive Map Manager discuss the possibility of a joint meeting with the Chairmen of both the South Lincolnshire & Rutland Local Access Forum and the Mid Lincolnshire Local Access Forum.



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