England Coast Path proposals – Iwade to Grain

On 15 January 2020 Natural England submitted its compendium of reports to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out their proposals for improved access to the coast between Iwade in Kent, and Grain in Medway. These proposals form part of a programme to establish a continuous walking route around England’s coastline, as set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

Full details are here. There are a number of documents, but the main one affecting us is IGR 4: Funton Brickworks to Lower Halstow

The Route

This path will come past Lower Halstow Church, along the sea wall, through our gated entrance, along the sea wall, behind the club building following the sea wall to our main gate, turning left and then across the adjoining farm land, before re-emerging opposite Basser Hill.

Current Actions so far

Members of the Committee have been in discussion with Natural England for some time as we believe it will cause a considerable security risk to all of our property and boats. The original plans were to bring the path right through our yard which we strongly objected to on health and safety grounds regarding moving boats around with a tractor.

Together with the creek side being a sensitive natural habitat and our safety issues the path proposal was realigned to this current plan with our yard being an excluded area, with no public right of access.

Concerns

The current plan does not address our security concerns and consequently the committee is totally opposed to the current route.

Natural England have stated they will not provide any fencing to separate the path from the Excluded area, but will provide some signage.

Running along the sea wall the path is directly adjacent to our grassed area and buildings. One of our concerns is for the safe guarding of members children that often play on the grassed area in front of the club building in what is currently part of a fenced environment with no public access.

The same area also contains our barbeque and picnic benches, purchased by the club with members money for club members use. Will signs keep people off our property?

The Alternative Route

Natural England have discounted the existing Saxon Shore path as it emerges on the road for a short distance. Rather than tackling the traffic speed problem on that short section of road or linking the existing small gap in the path, they have routed the path over our, our neighbours and landlords land.

Whats next?

We have until the 11th March to object to the proposals. The committee will be meeting to put together a structured objection. We would welcome any comments from members that we can include. Either use the comments section below, but this will show your name. Alternatively, email us on info@lhyc.org.uk with anything you would like added.

Anyone with an interest in the land that is being used can object, so club members have every right to object individually. When the committee has come up with our thoughts on what to object on we will let all members know. We would encourage as many people as possible to oppose the route.

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