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PARISH WEBSITE PROPOSED


FOOTPATH UNCERTAINTY REFERRED
TO THE COUNTY COUNCIL


In early 2005 the Parish Council began to receive complaints that some residents of Point Clear Bay who had recently acquired properties along the Sea Wall in Eastern Promenade, appeared anxious to restrict access to the Sea Wall footpath and the beach, enjoyed by many residents and holidaymakers for over seventy years, in fact ever since the properties were built along the sea wall around the middle 1930's.
The complainants understood that like other owners with a frontage on the footpath, they may own the sea wall footpath and pieces of beach in front of their properties, but in the case of those complained of, they wanted to restrict their land for their own use by excluding the public. They clearly did not understand that ownership of land and public rights over it, were quite compatible with each other, not mutually exclusive of each other.


This picture postcard show the public relaxing on the beach and walking along in front of the buildings constructed only a few years earlier. It was taken towards the end of the 1930's. If you look closely you will notice that at this time there was no sea wall, as this was built post war, when the footpath was transferred to the new wall. The first property on the right of the photograph is number 2 Eastern Promenade.


This enlarged portion of the above photograph shows holidaymakers relaxing on the public beach and
sunbathing on the earth bank which was eventually
replaced with the present concrete sea wall.

The problems began with chicane barriers erected on the footpath, which created difficulty for disabled wheelchair users or for a family with their children in a large buggy type pram, from travelling that part of the footpath. Post and rope barriers were also erected on the beach apparently to section off parts of the beach previously enjoyed by the public.


The Parish Council continued to receive complaints from residents, some of whom had been told the beach was private and they should not be there. Others were told forcibly the footpath was not for public access but was for owner/residents use. The Parish Council wrote to all properties in Eastern Promenade, pointing out the error in what was taking place, but it produced little result, so they felt they must write to the County Council, who are responsible for footpaths in Essex, seeking their guidance. As a result a formal application was made and the legal machinery set in motion.


This small scale map shows the section (identified by the blue arrows) between footpath 25 and footpath 17. The present route of footpath 25 runs down the centre of a quite busy roadway and the application will separate traffic from pedestrians.


Now, in a letter dated 28th July 2009, after nearly two years of process, the County wrote to all frontagers as follows: Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 53. St Osyth, Alleged footpath along the Sea-Wall between footpaths 25 and 17 - Case 676.
The County Council has considered all of the evidence in relation to the above mentioned application and has decided to grant the Application on the grounds set out in its report. Copies of the full report are held in the St Osyth Parish Office for inspection by any interested party.


This picture was taken post war around 1950 and was taken about 400 yards
to the east of the first picture. It has a Morris Minor motor car parked so
that dates it as not earlier than 1948.


This notification from Essex County Council is encouraging news for those trying to defend for the local public and many hundreds of holidaymakers, a pleasant walking route, which has existed before some of the new owners were born. There may be more water to flow under the bridge before the route is actually on the Definitive Footpath Map of Essex, but now the County has made a decision, what we may say on our web site cannot influence the outcome so it was felt appropriate to report, answering the many questions asked, without fear of reporting bias from one side or the other.

2/8/09.
M.J.T.

Post Cards from Tina Edwards.


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