Crumbling cliff-top paths closed on Southwold seafront

CONCERNS have been raised about the crumbling state of the cliffs at Southwold.

Two public footpaths on the town's seafront have been closed to the public until further notice after surveyors deemed them unsafe to walk on amid fears over subsidence.

The cliff-top walkways, known as Lady's Walk, which run alongside North Parade, near Dunwich Road, are to remain closed for the foreseeable future in the 'interests of safety', according to Waveney District Council.

Surveyors said an investigation into the stability of the cliff face would be carried out before a proposal could be considered for the future of the footpaths.

Property consultant Norfolk Property Services (NPS), which is involved with a project to enhance fishing facilities at Southwold harbour and provides project management and planning consultancy for the district council, has yet been unable to ascertain the extent of subsidence in the cliff.

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Simon Tobin, leader of the community railings project, which voluntarily painted Victorian railings after 16 years without attention, said the council had waited 'lamentably long' to deal with the subsidence. He said: 'This has been a problem for two-and-a-half years. It beggars belief that, in a 10-mile area that generates �20m a year from tourism, it takes this long for something to be done.

'It seems amazing that the pier car park operated by Waveney generates �120,000 and one of the main walkways is closed.'

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Thousands of holiday-makers visit Southwold every year, making it one of the top tourist spots in East Anglia.

There are visible cracks and holes in the footpaths while the handrail has also fallen into a state of disrepair.

Signs warning walkers of the footpath closures have been positioned at entrances to the paths, which lead down to the promenade and have been blocked by metal railings indefinitely for safety reasons while structural engineers assess their condition.

A council spokeswoman said: 'NPS met with a contractor and structural engineer specialising in cliff work, rather than straightforward building repairs, and some investigative work will be going ahead before everyone takes a look at proposals for the future of this footpath.

'The footpath will remain closed for the foreseeable future in the interests of safety.'

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