A SECTION of a cycle and pedestrian route, severely damaged by severe winter weather, has been temporarily repaired while council bosses consider a permanent solution.
Part of the Bulverhythe Coastal Link between Bexhill and Hastings was left damaged by a severe storm last October and forced to close after being battered by three subsequent storms which caused the tide to breach sea defences.
The damaged 300-metre section of the 1.36-mile beachside route has now been made accessible in time for the Easter break after East Sussex County Council (ESCC) contractors installed a temporary surface.
The authority says it is now investigating options for a permanent solution to the damaged section, working with the Environment Agency, which is responsible for repairing the sea defences. This may well include scrapping the Netpave surface and replacing it with one more able to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as tarmac.
Ian Hollidge, of Bexhill Wheelers, said it was disappointing that the path had been closed for so long but felt it was nevertheless a ‘wonderful coastal path’. He said ESCC needs to secure the Netpave and have it regularly swept clean of pebbles, adding: “The route was regularly used and it was disappointing that it was closed so soon.”
The path cost £360,000 to construct and was funded by the Big Lottery, the Sustrans Links to School Project and ESCC. It has been open for just over two years and forms part of the nationwide Sustrans Connect 2 network. If it has to be replaced ESCC says it will foot the bill.
Cllr Carl Maynard, ESCC lead member for transport and environment, said: “We understand the inconvenience which has been caused on a short section of the route as a result of the extreme weather which battered the coast during the winter.
“It’s important that we ensure the permanent surface is capable of meeting the demands of this exposed stretch of coastline and that we take a joined-up approach, working closely with the Environment Agency as it repairs the sea defences. We’d like to thank pedestrians and cyclists for bearing with us over the past few months and we’re delighted to be able to reopen the route in time for one of the busiest weekends of the year.”