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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Cumbrian coastal path 'waste of taxpayers' money'

Rural campaigners have branded the opening of a stretch of coastal path between Allonby and Whitehaven as a “waste of taxpayers’ money”.

The 25-mile stretch, part of the England coast path, is due to be officially opened this Friday.

Natural England has been working with landowners and access authorities on the Allonby to Whitehaven stretch as part of a £120,000 project to improve access.

But the Government agency has been accused by a countryside campaign group of “grossly mishandling the management of the scheme”.

The Country, Business and Landowners Association (CLA) say latest figures show that it is costing Natural England £1.025m a year in administrative costs alone to implement the England Coast Path, which will provide a continuous walking route around the country.

And CLA north regional director Dorothy Fairburn said more than four-fifths of the coast is already accessible to the public.

“In these straitened times when the Government is trying to cut public expenditure, it is misguided to spend millions of pounds replicating access that already exists.”

She added that if the money had to be spent on the coast it should be on improving the facilities already there, such as maintenance, signs, toilets and car parks.

The Allonby to Whitehaven section is one of five other areas which could open up as part of a £50m project.

It is hoped the route, which will be launched at an event in Allonby, will increase the number of visitors and bring economic benefit.

“So far Natural England has delivered just 20 miles of English coastal path at a cost in excess of £5m, whereas the Welsh Government achieved an 870-mile complete coast path in a shorter timescale and at a cost of less than £10m to the taxpayer,” said Miss Fairburn.

She added: “This is because instead of using the new complicated legislation, it used existing laws for creating public rights of way under the Highways Act 1980.”

A 32km stretch of the Dorset coast around Weymouth Bay became the first section of the new England Coast path two years ago.

A spokesman for Natural England said the 22-mile route would “run close to some of Cumbria’s most populated areas and pass through a variety of coastal habitats and cliff scenery”.

Have your say

This is a waste of money as I have been walking the Cumbria coast for 40 years and the Whitehaven to Allenby path has been there for much longer than that. There is no improvement on any stretch between Whitehaven and Maryport. The Black Path next to the old Steelworks is particularly in need of cleaning up.
The only improvement is the Maryport to Allenby. This was a lovely path that cut through the sand dunes and the wildlife was fantastic. The cyclepath is a scar over this protected area.
The cunbria way is a coastal path from Ulveston to Carlisle (google it). The Scottish side of the solway is mostly accessible as they have right to roam.
Why have we wasted cash building something that was already there.

Posted by john on 10 April 2014 at 19:32

more nimbys again the county is alive with them !!!!

Posted by albert on 10 April 2014 at 11:41

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