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Berrow Coast Road campaigners fear vital grant could be lost
CONCERNED villagers campaigning for a footpath along Berrow’s busy Coast Road could lose the £80,000 they have just secured for the project.
The group was awarded the cash from the Paths for Communities Fund, run by the EU and UK Government, but will not be able to claim unless they can get the landowner’s support.
Andrea Johnstone, who is leading the campaign, said initially Burnham and Berrow Golf Club, which owns the land, was in support of the plans, but has since changed its mind.
She told the Weekly News: “They signed the form giving their consent for use of the land but we have now been told they would not allow the public footpath to go ahead.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing because they were completely in favour of it before.
“These funds don’t come very often and if it turns out that this falls through it will mean there’s no time for another community to apply to the fund, meaning the £80,000 will be lost.”
Andrea has written to the golf club asking for members to support the project but time is running out because the funding has to be allocated by the end of February.
She said: “We’re just asking for a stretch of 4.5 metres of their land but they say the low-key footpath will interfere with play and could have liability issues. But walkers currently wander over the course, which is more dangerous.
“We are in desperate need of this footpath for the safety of villagers, walkers and holidaymakers.
“I have been hit by car wing mirrors three times walking along the road and there have been several accidents there over the years.
“I was chairman of the parish council and this has always been a real issue in the village. I hope the club will reconsider.”
The Weekly News launched its ‘A Safer Coast Road’ campaign in 2008, calling for safety measures to the stretch of Berrow’s Coast Road. The dangerous mile-long section of Coast Road in Berrow, which joins busy Burnham from the tourist-laden sands at Brean, is narrow, has no footpath and has long been of concern to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
Karen Drake, manager of the golf club, told the Weekly News there’s still hope. She said: “We are in favour of the original plan but the plan has since had a number of alterations and that’s what we need to discuss and what needs to be made clear.
“Discussions are still ongoing and the project has not been written off – we just need to confirm the details.”