Victory for Carlyon Bay beachfront footpath campaign
Campaigners have scored a resounding victory in securing a public footpath through the privately owned site of a £250 million beachfront development in Cornwall.
Councillors this week backed an application to extend the route, which had stopped in the car park of the former Coliseum at Carlyon Bay near St Austell, to the tideline on the nearby beach.
After a fight going back more than a decade, it was the final hurdle for locals who have sought proper public access through the proposed beach scheme.
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The footpath will now be added to the official, definitive rights of way map, although objections could still be lodged, which would prompt a public inquiry and appeal to the Secretary of State.
Commercial Estates Group (CEG), the developers behind the controversial project which covers Crinnis beach and stretches to adjoining Shorthorn and Polgaver beaches, is now assessing the implications of the decision.
Retired teacher Gloria Price was the co-applicant for the footpath to be lengthened.
The 60-year-old said: "This is a victory for the ordinary man and woman. A lot of people have given everything they have to this and stuck with it over the past ten years.
"The path claim has been subjected to the highest scrutiny.
"The original application went to the Secretary of State following an objection by the landowner against the council's decision to make an order for a path as far as the old Coliseum buildings."
A public inquiry was called off when the landowners dropped their objections and the inspector said an application could be resubmitted for the remaining section. It was approved by councillors on Monday.
A spokesman for the Open Spaces Society, a charity protecting the public rights of way and common land, said it was delighted the order had been made to "add this important section of the public footpath to the map".
The development at Carlyon Bay includes plans for a hotel, leisure, retail and sports facilities alongside more than 500 houses, apartments and villas.
Despite having outline planning permission, it is currently on hold because of the economic downturn, although CEG has insisted it is "not a case of if the resort's going to be built, but when".
Jon Kenny, from CEG, said: "The importance of public access is something we are very aware of and we worked very closely with Cornwall Council to ensure that public access to the beach was provided. This was unanimously endorsed by Cornwall Council.
"We've seen the resolution to extend the public right of way and need now to consider the implications this might have for the project."