Golf course paths protected after campaigners’ long four-year fight

PUBLISHED: 15:43 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 23 November 2018

Ann Townsend, Janet Davey and supporters  with the new signs installed by North Somerset Council.     

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Ann Townsend, Janet Davey and supporters with the new signs installed by North Somerset Council. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

Several years of wrangling to protect public footpaths in Portishead have been rewarded with signs being put in place to tell walkers where they can go.

Campaigners have fought hard to ensure walkers retained long-held access to the golf course, in Nore Road.

Changes proposed to the site had seen the footpath access threatened, but members of the community spent years gathering evidence and convincing North Somerset Council to protect their rights.

The footpath order was finally confirmed this week.

Campaigner Ann Townsend said: “To many, the area of land known as Portishead golf course is an area where people have enjoyed golf, running, walking, sledging, watching nature or a place just to relax and watch the ever changing scenery.

“It is a site of specific scientific interest and has much to admire in terms of wildlife.

“It was therefore inconceivable anyone would wish to remove such an asset from the community. However, in December 2014 a small notice appeared on lamp posts announcing an intention to ‘develop’ the land for the benefit of the golf course tenant and dump 16,000 cubic metres of landfill and exclude members of the public.

“Fortunately, before it was all a fait accompli by North Somerset Council, objections were lodged and the fight to save the land began.

“Help was sought from Portishead Town Council to stop the exclusion of residents from the land and to protect our heritage. It quickly became apparent after a period of denial of the extent of the works and disruption, the council was generally in favour of development. At this stage, many would have thought nothing more could be done to protect the land.

“Even more amazing though was the uncovering of a fantastic community spirit and passion within Portishead. Valuable historical background information about the land was provided, an incredible technical report provided by an eminent geologist, together with a whole wealth of skills and willingness to help.

“It may have started as a long uphill battle against those that have been chosen to represent us, but it has ended with an enduring sense of hope and confidence that the community of Portishead is strong and will join together to do the right thing, even in the face of adversity.”

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