Hopes for coast path victory

VICTORY could be in sight for determined campaigners who are fighting to reinstate public access to a coastal path in Portishead.

A padlock on the gate at the western access point on the old sea wharf coastal path has been removed after months of protest about its existence.

Earlier this year, there was a public outcry after the gate leading to the historic path, which runs from the marina to Portbury Wharf, was padlocked for the third time in 12 months. The route follows the old sea wall to Portbury.

The Sea Wall Commission, which is believed to be responsible for the padlock, failed to provide answers, but using a Freedom of Information request, campaigners discovered the locked gate was the result of a planning condition related to the marina developments.

However, the old sea wall is no longer the major flood defence for Portishead, as it has been superseded by improved flood defences.

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Protesters collected evidence forms and support from walkers who have used the path for more than 20 years, with the aim to get it formally accepted as a public right of way.

Annette Hennessy, who led the campaign for the path to remain open to the public, said: “I am awaiting confirmation from Carl Hayley, chairman of Portbury Sea Wall Commission, with regard to future access arrangements and we are hopeful that permanent access will be granted.

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“If necessary we can serve formal papers on the commission for the public right of way, but I hope this will not be necessary and that common sense will prevail, as access remains open at the eastern end. I have been verbally advised that instructions to remove the padlock came from the commission but I am still awaiting written confirmation of this.”

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