A landowner claims Dorset Council will be endangering people's lives if a coastal path which suffered numerous landslips is reopened.

Underbarn Walk, a picturesque path in Weymouth from Bincleaves Green to Castle Cove Beach, was closed by the local authority in 2001 due to safety concerns following landslips and has since fallen into a state of overgrowth and disrepair.

However following a sustained community campaign, the council says it is safe to reopen, an assessment that Old Castle Road resident Dave Askew, 65, strongly disagrees with.

Underbarn Walk runs beneath Mr Askew's garden in Old Castle Road. 

Read more: The 'most beautiful walk in Weymouth' may re-open after more than 20 years

Dorset Echo: Entrance to the Underbarn Walk at Castle CoveEntrance to the Underbarn Walk at Castle Cove (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Mr Askew, a retiree whose family has lived on Old Castle Road since 1984, says that the path is even less stable than it was 20 years ago.

He said: "The risk hasn't gone away, it has increased substantially.

“The Underbarn has never been stable and never will be. We monitor it constantly. The landslips are part of living here and something we all knew when we moved here.

“This is not a case of landowners saying we don't want a path, we are quite happy to have one on our land. It is about having a safe one - like down on the beach."

Mr Askew is concerned about a landslide falling from his garden onto the walk.

Dorset Echo: The end of Mr Asker's garden, which he says is showing signs of listing. He expects it to slip onto the walkThe end of Mr Asker's garden, which he says is showing signs of listing. He expects it to slip onto the walk (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

He added: "If it is made part of the coast path like it is hoped there will be thousands of people using it. It was a lovely walk but it is a death trap. It is not rocket science to see what is going to happen.

"There have still been landslips going on here - people just don't notice them and we landowners just manage it."

Steve Elsworth, another Old Castle Road resident and chairman of the Friends of Castle Cove Beach charity,  disagrees that the path is dangerous.

He believes that the risk of landslips is no greater than anywhere else on the Jurassic Coast and that the council's work would have little to no impact.

Mr Elsworth said: "I am in favour of what the council are doing, I think the concerns are overblown.

"It is everybody's democratic right to support or oppose. In this case, I think it is the interest of a small group of landowners versus the public."

A Dorset Council spokesperson said: “Our recent risk assessments indicate that it is now safe to reopen the path; there’s been no sign of significant movement for more than a decade. As a result, we have begun the legal process to try and restore this popular route.

“We must follow due process to revoke the original closure order; the first step is to clear the scrub from the line of the path so that statutory consultees are able to properly assess the path and provide accurate responses to a consultation.

"We have also been in contact with the owners of the land which the footpath passes through to keep them informed. Local people will have a chance to provide comments through the consultation process.”