Southwold footpath plans recommended for approval
07:00 05 February 2013
PLANS to build a new seafront footpath in Southwold have taken a step forward.
The Ladies Walk footpath was closed almost three years ago by Waveney District Council amid public safety concerns when part of the cliff collapsed.
The district council has now submitted a planning application to remove the damaged footpath and replace it with a traditional concrete walkway and retaining wall. These proposals, which have been recommended for approval, will be considered at a meeting of its development control committee meeting on February 12.
Southwold mayor Michael Ladd welcomed the development.
He said: “Ladies Walk is one of those areas I love to go and sit in the summer. It has been deteriorating for several years now. It will be good to have that back in pristine condition, hopefully in time for the summer.”
The path above North Parade at Kilcock Cliff was deemed unsafe by structural engineers after part of the cliff crumbled away and collapsed because of heavy rainfall, burrowing rabbits and the effect of soil creep.
The new plans involve removing the damaged footpath and replacing it with a pre-cast concrete structure that follows the line of the current path.
The finish of the path surface and the design of the hand-rails will be completed in consultation with the conservation officer.
The council’s planning statement says the new footway will mimic the existing path while stabilising the cliff face by transferring the loads through the structure more effectively than at present.
The design was chosen by Mike Barnard, the district council’s cabinet member for resources, after a public consultation.
A second option involving a steel walkway elevated above the cliff on stilts was rejected, with some people saying it would be unattractive and noisy and was out of keeping with the area.
The £200,000 for the work will come from what the council calls a “cross subsidy scheme”, which will initially use income generated from the letting of new beach hut sites.
A specialist engineer will also be enlisted to oversee the design along with a contractor to deliver the project.