MP to lobby environment chiefs for action on eroded cliff path

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Taddiford Gap
New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne has pledged to alert Natural England about serious erosion close to Taddiford Gap

NEW FOREST MP Sir Desmond Swayne has promised to ask Natural England to urgently roll back fencing on the Barton-to-Milford coastal path so the popular route can be made accessible in time for the summer.

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Milford Parish Council wrote to Sir Desmond asking him to highlight the serious erosion that has taken place by Taddiford Gap.

It now means walkers are forced to cross a barbed wire fence and walk through agricultural fields along two sections of the path.

The New Forest West representative has pledged to raise the issue with the public body.

New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne

In the letter, Milford parish clerk Graham Wells points out that a document published by Natural England in 2018 relating to the local coastline acknowledges that as a ‘honeypot’ route, and it should be permitted to maintain the path without asking further permission from the Secretary of State.

However, Mr Wells points out that despite regular requests that Natural England liaise with the landowner to negotiate a roll-back of the fencing, no action has been taken.

Milford Parish Council chairman Cllr Bob Bishop said: “We are not really sure what the hold-up is with trying to get this section of fence moved back, and that is why we decided to contact Sir Desmond.

“I walked along part of the path the other day and there are certainly two sections very close to Taddiford Gap where you have to step over a wire fence and make your way through a farmer’s field.

“It is Natural England that will undertake these negotiations with the land owner – but ideally we would like to see the fence moved back three or four metres as soon as possible.

“We decided it was important to try and get the ball rolling on this because we would like to see the path fully accessible in time for the summer season.”

Describing the Milford-to-Barton coastal path as “delightful”, Cllr Bishop continued: “I’m sure that it is a route used by many thousands of walkers every year, and we feel it is also important to the tourist economy of the village.

“We would like to see this work done as soon as possible so that it can be enjoyed throughout the summer months.”

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