Backwell Lake path update

PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 January 2012

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for a path around Backwell Lake have had to settle for a compromise after a drainage problem ramped up the costs.

The Times reported in September that North Somerset Council had given the green light to plans submitted by Backwell Access Group (BAG), for the walkway, which will enable disabled people and parents with pushchairs to access the beauty spot.

The scheme is backed by Backwell Parish Council and Nailsea Town Council who have donated funds towards it.

BAG wanted to submit a bid to the Big Lottery Fund for the remaining £46,500 needed to have the path installed before Christmas.

But planning conditions stated that North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board must have access to a river beside the lake which they regularly dredge and the heavy machinery they use would rip through concrete.

BAG spokesman Alison Morgan said: “We’ve had to get new plans drawn up, strengthening the path sufficiently but so it’s not too over-engineered for the lake’s setting.

“But we’ve just found out this is going to cost an extra £70,000 and the limit for the lottery grant is £50,000.

“We haven’t got time to raise that amount of money before the timescale for the bid runs out.”

So the group has reluctantly agreed to build two thirds of the path around the north side of the tourist attraction, with a viewing platform, which it hopes will be completed by the summer.

It hopes to eventually raise enough money to continue all the way round.

Alison added: “We will have to do a big push to complete it in the future, unless some kind benefactor steps in with an offer to help.

“It is very sad that we can’t do the whole path but we are not giving up.”

The group originally thought building work would start in October at a cost of

£25,000.

BAG hopes the footpath will be in place in time for the Olympic torch to wend its way through the village next May.

The Times reported last month that the relay will be hosted by Nailsea, Backwell and Flax Bourton in the run up to the London games.

The group is now appealing to the parish council and North Somerset Council to write to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for it to be re-routed, to take in the lake.

Backwell Parish Council backed the bid at a recent meeting, saying it would be ‘absolutely brilliant’ for the village.


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