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 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 with Dorset County Council, landowners, businesses and the community to find a solution.
Miss Sutton said the level of support for the campaign has been ‘extraordinary’ and she thanked everyone for their efforts in spreading the word.
She 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 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 and 250 pupils at All Saints School have also signed the petition.
Miss Sutton is calling on the council to hold a meeting so the issues can be discussed and ideas put forward by residents.
She added: “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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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. But no funding is available.
“Rebuilding the steps could cost tens of thousands of pounds and without stabilisation work future landslips could easily destroy the steps.
“The borough council is keen to investigate any solutions that could reinstate access to the beach. DCC has extended the right of way closure along the coastal path. We advise against people continuing to use this closed right of way to try and access the beach.”