Welsh cycle path swallowed up by sand

Cycle lane should be placed alongside existing bridge, say harbour users

by Tom Henry   February 11, 2010  

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A CYCLE route that runs into a sand-trap is a good reason not to build a controversial bridge across Rhyl Harbour in North Wales, protesters say.

Fishermen and boat users have already registered their objections to the £4 million bridge, claiming that it will signal the end of the harbour.

Now, however, they say that sections of the path between the harbour and Kinmel Bay are constantly blocked with sand, which would need to be cleared on a daily basis to make the path passable.

Anthony Parry, a boat owner for 21 years and a member of Rhyl Charter Skippers' Association, told the Journal: "It will be a bridge to nowhere because it is going into sand. I make a living out of the harbour and they do not listen to us about it.

"That part of the cycle path is not being used. The sand needs to be cleared. It needs to be done every day. I live 100 yards from it and I go down there a lot, I ride and I can't use it. We do not want the bridge, the harbour users do not want it."

Campaigners opposing the unmanned drawbridge fear it will block the harbour entrance and say a cycle path built alongside Foryd Bridge would be cheaper and cause less disruption.

The bridge will be built within Denbighshire while the cycle path lies in neighbouring Conwy county.

Roy Spilsbury, a spokesman for cycling group CTC Cymru, said: "It is a long standing problem, sand does catch, but there is an alternative route. People tend to short cut it through the residential area in Kinmel Bay.

"Conwy council is less reactive to the sand on the coast. Denbighshire is pretty good. Along Rhyl Promenade is pretty good. They are on the ball, Conwy is less so. In ten years I have only been down there once."

A spokeswoman for Denbighshire County Council said: "We try to ensure that our coastal cycleroutes are kept sand free at all times, and this will continue to be the case after the opening of the new cycle bridge."

Cllr Michael Priestley, Conwy's cabinet member for Environment, said: "Sand can accumulate in these areas during the winter months, the complaint has been reported to the Environment Service for action."