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Crowds turn out to back campaign to have Snettisham Beach path declared public right of way

13:48 04 May 2014

Walkers set off at Snettisham Beach. Picture: Chris Bishop

Walkers set off at Snettisham Beach. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

More than 1,000 people turned out for a protest walk along the beach today.

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Organisers said the turn-out was far more than they expected, as they set off in the sunshine along the disputed path.

County councillor John Dobson, who was among those taking part, said: “It’s quite clearly a huge local issue. It’s a reflection of the dissatisfaction with the way the councty council has handled this issue over a number of years.”

A public inquiry is being held next month to decide the status of the route. Some chalet owners claim the footpath along the top of the sea defences has never been a public right of way. But hundreds of walkers and villagers have sent in statements saying that they have been using it for years.

As the walk got under way retired photographer John Hocknell, from South Wootton, said: “It’s something which is dear to my heart. I’ve been coming up here since 1970, I’ve walked it on and off with all the family for years.

“As the sea bank, the flood defences, are paid for by the public, it’s wrong for someone to say we can’t walk along it.”

A number of chalet owners came out to express support for the walkers.

David Bocking, 79, said if those opposed to the right of way succeeded it would be “the short end of the straw”.

“I was born and bred on this beach,” he added. My grandad built the first bungalow here. I’m very pleased about the turnout.”

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