Coastal path survey ‘just a PR exercise’ residents group claims

Coastal path survey ‘just a PR exercise’ residents group claims

by Tom Martin (November 2021)

A RESIDENTS’ group in Waterloo has slammed a consultation by Sefton Council on proposals to build a new coastal path as a “PR exercise.”

The Champion recently reported how a consultation into plans to create a new coastal cycling and walking route between Crosb   y Leisure Centre and Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre saw 278 responses from residents, with 61% of respondents selecting the feedback options of ‘very happy’ or ‘fairly happy.’

However, Seafront Residents’ Action Group (SRAG), who have always been against the proposal, claim that the survey was “run as a PR exercise, not to find out what people want.”

The group is against plans to create a new path and instead wants the council to improve the existing path along the promenade, which they say would become neglected.

The council faces a constant battle to clear sand from the promenade path and it becomes  difficult for cyclists and wheelchair users to access.

SRAG chair Chris Wolstenholme said: “Consultations should be genuine, timely and transparent.

“Sefton Council planned this years ahead, kept its plans under wraps, ignored any feedback prior to formal consultation, then rushed out the consultation at the last minute.

“The consultations are run as a PR exercise, not to find out what people want. They fail to capitalise on the knowledge and expertise available in the community. Earlier and longer consultation would have revealed better alternatives.

“Our concern is that the new path could soon become a substitute and not an alternative to it and part of the promenade will be abandoned to nature to become a fully formed sand dune.”

SRAG believe that the existing promenade path could be better maintained if the council hires a third-party company.

The residents have been in contact with retired engineer, Pat Pettican, who claims that a company could offer to clear the path if they would then be allowed to use the sand for recycling.

SRAG are urging Sefton Council to meet with them to discuss the proposals in more detail.

In the meantime, the council is expected to put forward a planning application to build the new path later this month.

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