Residents support Green Party petition to secure access to Weymouth's Castle Cove

SUPPORT: Clare Sutton, centre, hands in the Castle Cove petition with local Green Party members and residents

SUPPORT: Clare Sutton, centre, hands in the Castle Cove petition with local Green Party members and residents

First published in News
Last updated

MORE than 1,700 people have got behind a campaign which aims to secure access to a Weymouth beach.

Families are demanding authorities restore access to Sandsfoot Beach off Old Castle Road.

The privately owned beauty spot, also known as Castle Cove, has been out of bounds for more than a year following a landslip in the area and removal of the steps down to the beach for safety reasons.

A petition launched by local parent and Green Party member Clare Sutton has now been handed over to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

The petition attracted 1,727 signatures, including more than 800 online, in just over two weeks.

It calls on the council to work closely with Dorset County Council, local landowners, businesses and the community to find a solution.

Miss Sutton said: “Having spent many afternoons on the beach as a child, teenager, and more recently as a mum, I knew lots of local residents loved this beach but I didn’t realise just how important it was to so many people.

“Literally hundreds of people have talked about using it as a child and how much they miss it and want their children and grandchildren to be able to use it. I’ve also been really touched by just how many people said there they had scattered a loved-one’s ashes there.”

Over the past fortnight, Miss Sutton and local Green Party members have knocked on nearly 1,300 doors in the and 250 pupils at All Saints School have also signed the petition.

Miss Sutton added: “The level of support has been extraordinary. Almost every single person we spoke to wanted to sign the petition and some even took a copy away to get even more signatures.

"A big thank you also to Janet at the Buxton Road Fish and Chip Shop and Rod at The Old Castle who also collected signatures. It was a real team effort all round, and I’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has supported this. I’m sure some people will be disappointed we didn’t get to their door but if people still want to express their support I am happy to pass on all comments to the council.

“Councillors can now be in no doubt how strongly local people feel about this issue, so we are all calling on them to work really hard to try and find a solution. We have asked for a meeting so we can discuss with them the issues and ideas raised by local people and we hope they will get back to us soon. It would be really great to have our beach back in time for the summer, and hopefully the council will help us.”

To support the campaign contact Clare Sutton on 01305 771180 or email clare.sutton@zen.co.uk

Council: No funding for works

HEAD of Infrastructure at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Ben Murray said: “Steps leading to Castle Cove beach were removed last year for safety reasons due to unstable land caused by coastal erosion and there is no longer any direct access to the beach.

“The steps sat on an actively eroding stretch of coastline that would require a significant amount of money to stabilise. Unfortunately there is no funding available for such works.

“Rebuilding the steps could cost tens of thousands of pounds and without the required stabilisation works future landslips could easily destroy the steps at any time.

“The borough council is keen to investigate any solutions that could reinstate access to the beach and is discussing various options with relevant stakeholders.

“Dorset County Council has extended the right of way closure along the coastal path, and for their own safety we advise against people continuing to use this closed right of way to try and access the beach.”

 

Comments (9)

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2:25pm Mon 7 Apr 14

IslandJim1 says...

Am I missing something...or is the echo report missing something. Why are people petitioning the council for access to a private piece of land? Maybe they should take the hint, if the land owner isn't providing access maybe they don't want people on it?
Am I missing something...or is the echo report missing something. Why are people petitioning the council for access to a private piece of land? Maybe they should take the hint, if the land owner isn't providing access maybe they don't want people on it? IslandJim1
  • Score: -1

3:42pm Mon 7 Apr 14

JoeyJo says...

Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.
Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that. JoeyJo
  • Score: 3

3:59pm Mon 7 Apr 14

jjlad2 says...

As much as i liked to walk along this path when it was open, to logically reinstate it safely is going to cost a small packet, it may seem that new steps are needed, but with current erosion along this area some serious shoring and concrete needs doing. i see no point in spending anything between £50 and £200k for something that may only last a couple of years for the benefit of so little, especially if the land owner decides to shut it at the water level mark as he is entitled. thier is a lot more important areas in town for the benefit of evryone that require doing before this.
No, i dont like it also, but its where we are economically at present with the like to have and the must haves.
As much as i liked to walk along this path when it was open, to logically reinstate it safely is going to cost a small packet, it may seem that new steps are needed, but with current erosion along this area some serious shoring and concrete needs doing. i see no point in spending anything between £50 and £200k for something that may only last a couple of years for the benefit of so little, especially if the land owner decides to shut it at the water level mark as he is entitled. thier is a lot more important areas in town for the benefit of evryone that require doing before this. No, i dont like it also, but its where we are economically at present with the like to have and the must haves. jjlad2
  • Score: -1

5:05pm Mon 7 Apr 14

IslandJim1 says...

JoeyJo wrote:
Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.
I very much doubt the people who signed this petition thought they were only signing for the area of beach below the mean high water mark. Incidentally the council have to obligation to provide access to every piece of foreshore in the borough, that would simply be impractical. Unfortunately as has been proven by Markham and Little Francis, access (or trespassing) does not amount to a right of access on private property. Weymouth and Portland already have many beach areas that everyone can use and the council maintain. 1700 is little over 2.5% of the local population, if they want to pay for a path only for the land owner to put a locked gate on it, let them pay out of there own pockets, not out of the councils already stretched budget .
[quote][p][bold]JoeyJo[/bold] wrote: Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.[/p][/quote]I very much doubt the people who signed this petition thought they were only signing for the area of beach below the mean high water mark. Incidentally the council have to obligation to provide access to every piece of foreshore in the borough, that would simply be impractical. Unfortunately as has been proven by Markham and Little Francis, access (or trespassing) does not amount to a right of access on private property. Weymouth and Portland already have many beach areas that everyone can use and the council maintain. 1700 is little over 2.5% of the local population, if they want to pay for a path only for the land owner to put a locked gate on it, let them pay out of there own pockets, not out of the councils already stretched budget . IslandJim1
  • Score: 1

5:21pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Schrodinger's Cat says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
Am I missing something...or is the echo report missing something. Why are people petitioning the council for access to a private piece of land? Maybe they should take the hint, if the land owner isn't providing access maybe they don't want people on it?
Council elections coming up next month Jim. "Local parent and Green Party member Clare Sutton" soon to become "Green Party candidate Clare Sutton." It's a pre-election stunt so she can put her 'campaign' in her election leaflets.
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something...or is the echo report missing something. Why are people petitioning the council for access to a private piece of land? Maybe they should take the hint, if the land owner isn't providing access maybe they don't want people on it?[/p][/quote]Council elections coming up next month Jim. "Local parent and Green Party member Clare Sutton" soon to become "Green Party candidate Clare Sutton." It's a pre-election stunt so she can put her 'campaign' in her election leaflets. Schrodinger's Cat
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Get a grip says...

JoeyJo wrote:
Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.
Please can you prove your statement?

Just one other point the land below mean high water owned by the Crown so why would a council have to provide access to land owned by the Crown?
[quote][p][bold]JoeyJo[/bold] wrote: Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.[/p][/quote]Please can you prove your statement? Just one other point the land below mean high water owned by the Crown so why would a council have to provide access to land owned by the Crown? Get a grip
  • Score: -2

7:46am Tue 8 Apr 14

Get a grip says...

So the Green Party want to spend money we do not have to gain access to private land.
So the Green Party want to spend money we do not have to gain access to private land. Get a grip
  • Score: 2

11:05am Tue 8 Apr 14

The Fish says...

JoeyJo wrote:
Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.
Wrong - the council have NO responsibility below the mean high water mark - this land comes under the Crown and subsequently controlled by the Crown Estates. Occassionally control can be transferred to local councils. Things are further complicated by the fact this is inside Portland Harbour, it is Portland Port who controls the seabed upto the mean high water mark.
[quote][p][bold]JoeyJo[/bold] wrote: Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.[/p][/quote]Wrong - the council have NO responsibility below the mean high water mark - this land comes under the Crown and subsequently controlled by the Crown Estates. Occassionally control can be transferred to local councils. Things are further complicated by the fact this is inside Portland Harbour, it is Portland Port who controls the seabed upto the mean high water mark. The Fish
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Get a grip says...

The Fish wrote:
JoeyJo wrote: Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.
Wrong - the council have NO responsibility below the mean high water mark - this land comes under the Crown and subsequently controlled by the Crown Estates. Occassionally control can be transferred to local councils. Things are further complicated by the fact this is inside Portland Harbour, it is Portland Port who controls the seabed upto the mean high water mark.
I had forgotten about Portland Port, good point.
[quote][p][bold]The Fish[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JoeyJo[/bold] wrote: Private ownership is only as far as the mean high water mark. Below that is public. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for providing and maintaining a right of access and is failing to do that.[/p][/quote]Wrong - the council have NO responsibility below the mean high water mark - this land comes under the Crown and subsequently controlled by the Crown Estates. Occassionally control can be transferred to local councils. Things are further complicated by the fact this is inside Portland Harbour, it is Portland Port who controls the seabed upto the mean high water mark.[/p][/quote]I had forgotten about Portland Port, good point. Get a grip
  • Score: 0

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