Cycle path plans hit a stumbling block over land despite councillors backing

PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 June 2018

The Brean Down cycle way has been popular since it opened in 2017.

The Brean Down cycle way has been popular since it opened in 2017.

Archant

Plans to build a cycle path connecting two Somerset towns have been handed a set back.

The project aims to create a traffic-free path from Unity Farm in Burnham-on-Sea to the Co-operative supermarket in Berrow to avoid the Coast Road for 2.5km.

It is spearheaded by Greenways and Cycleroutes Limited, who also opened Brean Down Way in July 2017, which connects the area to Weston.

Burnham and Highbridge town councillors voted unanimously to support the plans in March, and last month Sedgemoor District Council backed the £229,000 route.

But despite these approvals, Greenways still had to get support from landowners who would be affected by the path.

As reported by the Mercury in January, the biggest potential stumbling block for the route concerned Burnham and Berrow Golf Club, as 800 metres of the path cuts through its course.

The golf club said it ‘remains open’ to the plans but is reluctant to give up its land as it would have to redesign seven of its 18 holes on its championship course, which was listed as eighth in the National Club Golfer England’s Top 100 courses for 2018.

Earning the golf club’s support could see the route, north and south of Berrow Church, opened by 2019.

Discussions between the golf club, Greenways and town councillors are ongoing.

MORE: Public give mixed response to cycle path plans.

A spokesman for the golf club said: “Regrettably, after a comprehensive study by professional consultants, the directors have been advised the plans cannot be supported.

“The reasons relate to the safety of cyclists and others, serious liability issues raised by our insurers and the need to redesign no less than seven of 18 holes on our championship course.

“This includes protection measures for members of the public which are disproportionate to the benefits of the plans and would create long-term disruption to the golf course which is ranked in the top echelons of golf courses in the UK and Ireland.

“The club remains open to exploring further opportunities in creating pedestrian links from Berrow to Burnham and will continue to work with councillors in this regard.”

Brean Down Way opened last year and proved extremely popular, with more than 28,000 trips recorded crossing the River Axe sluices in its first seven weeks.

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