Cornwall’s flagship footpath illegally blocked

8 November 2010

We have called on Cornwall Council to act swiftly in reopening the illegally-blocked section of the South West Coast Path at Carlyon Bay, near St Austell in Cornwall.

The route has been partially blocked by fencing and a portacabin, erected in connection with Commercial Estates Group Ltd’s multi-million-pound development, and our member Gloria Price has been campaigning for many years to get the obstructions removed.

The South West Coast Path partially blocked by a portacabin, fencing and parked vehicles

The South West Coast Path partially blocked by a portacabin, fencing and parked vehicles

We have written to Cornwall Council’s rights-of-way department, urging it to take legal action to remove the obstructions. The South West Coast Path National Trail is a very special path which is used and enjoyed by thousands of people each year.

Cornwall Council has a legal duty to ensure this path is open to its full width and in good order. The path has been made narrow and offputting by the fencing and portacabin. They are a physical and a psychological barrier to the public.

In a recent case in the High Court concerning a gateway which partially blocked a footpath in Somerset, the judge ruled that the public was entitled to use and enjoy the full width of the path.

Therefore the council should serve a legal notice on the developers requiring them to reopen this flagship footpath to its full width.

Says Gloria Price: ‘The South West Coast Path (footpath 36) has been obstructed by the developer, and while we have been writing to Cornwall Council since 2004, no action has been taken by the council properly to resolve this matter. It needs to be resolved urgently, for the future of public access in Cornwall.’