Will signs bring an end to Snettisham Beach row?

One of the signs which must be removed from Snettisham Beach before Septeember 29.

One of the signs which must be removed from Snettisham Beach before Septeember 29. - Credit: IAN BURT

Signs will be going up next month on a disputed West Norfolk beach path which has been declared a public right of way.

A government planning inspector chaired a week-long public inquiry in June, to consider the status of the route across the top of Snettisham Beach.

Snettisham Parish Council and supporters of the footpath claimed that people had been using the path for decades.

But some chalet owners said it had always been acknowleged as private and there had been signs put up to warn people off.

The inspector ruled that the path along the sea defences, above the high tide mark, should be designated a public right of way.

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Now a county council official has written to both sides of the dispute, stating that Public Footpath signs will be put up along the route on Monday, September 29.

Network manager Tim Edwards said a six-week period was being allowed for any legal or procedural challenges to the inspector's decision. It is not yet clear whether there will be any challenge.

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'It is the council's intention to erect a Fingerpost at the northern end of the route and appropriate way markers along the route,' adds Mr Edwards.

'Owners of any signs that conflict with the status of the public footpath are respectfully asked to remove them at their earliest convenience, but at the latest prior to September 29.

'Any signs that conflict with the status of the route that remain on September 29 will be removed by the county council.'

Mr Edwards warns the county council may seek to recover its costs if it has to remove any unlawful signs from along the route.

County councillor John Dobson, who supported the campaign by villagers to have the path declared a public right of way, said: 'It's a good outcome, it's been a very protracted row - it's people power.'

The inspector's decision effectively completes the round Norfolk coastal path, which will become part of a national round Britain route.

It also means people can access the bird reserve at Snettisham from the beach car park, rather than parking at the Shepherd's Port fishing lakes and walking from there.

Was the inspector's decision right? E-mail chris.bishop@archant.co.uk.

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