Council responds to local business’s concern over timing

Posted on: 15 March 2013

In a move that demonstrates that it listens, Devon County Council has rescheduled important highways work to avoid peak summer months.

Local businesses at Watermouth Cove in North Devon, it has been reported, expressed concern that the Council’s plans to create a footpath along the busy A399, over ten weeks from June, would deter tourists from visiting.

The North Devon Journal reports that a business owner at a recent Town Council meeting questioned why the work could not be done during the winter.

“Has anyone explained we are a little hamlet and we have three or four months to make our money to survive for the next 12 months?”, says Gary Mallinder, owner of Surfside. 

“OK we need the coast path fixing but at what cost?  You cannot say you will stop tourism for ten weeks.”

But at a County Council meeting this week, the Council confirmed that having listened to local concerns, they have been able to delay the start of the work until September.

Councillors heard that the scheme will create a safer route for walkers on the Watermouth Cove section of the South West Coast Path, which, because it is impassable at high tide, forces pedestrians to walk along the busy road.

Dave Black, the Council’s Head of Planning, Transport and Environment, said:

“Having heard concerns from local businesses about the timing of the work, we have been able to delay its start to avoid the peak summer months. 

“Instead the proposed work to realign the road and create a footpath along the northern edge of the South West Coast Path will start in September. 

“This scheme will create a much needed safe passage for pedestrians.”

Funding for the scheme comes from DEFRA and a local walking charity. 

“It’s a condition of the funding that the scheme must begin by September, so we will not be able to delay it any further than that,” added Mr Black.

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Posted in: Environment