UPDATE: Traditional pathway option is chosen for Southwold’s Ladies Walk replacement work
The hazardous and closed off Ladies Walk pathway on Southwold cliffs is set to be replaced with a £200,000 traditional style walkway next year.
Today Mike Barnard, Waveney District Council cabinet member for resources, chose the traditional concrete footpath and a retaining wall option for a replacement pathway instead a second option involving a steel walkway elevated above the cliff on stilts.
The delegated cabinet member meeting followed a public consultation which saw residents raise their concerns over the second steel walkway option for Ladies Walk at Kilcock Cliff.
One said included “Option two would look hideous from the prom. It will disturb the viewing line between the road and prom, will provide less stability to the bank and will make bank maintenance very difficult.
“No planting will survive in the deep shade beneath it. It will be a health and safety hazard when children climb over the handrail and fall vertically.”
Another person said: “The metal walkway is not in keeping with the ambiance of this area of Southwold and would be very noisy for the local residents.”
Mr Barnard made his choice for the first traditional option after David Gallagher, the council’s head of commercial partnerships and strategic commissioning said it would easy to get through the planning process and was “least likely to cause complaints”.
In making his decision Mr Barnard said: “I believe the traditional replacement is the one which will fit in more (with Southwold).”
For the last three summers, people have been unable to enjoy a scenic stroll along Ladies Walk after it was closed by Waveney District Council amid public safety concerns.
The path above North Parade was deemed unsafe by structural engineers after part of the cliff collapsed and crumbled because of heavy rainfall, burrowing rabbits and the effect of soil creep.
It is hoped the replacement path work should be completed by Easter or the early summer.
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 and a suitable contractor to deliver the project.