Cycle path future in doubt after vandalism

Damage may force riverside route to close

by Tom Henry   July 9, 2009  

welsh cycling.jpg

Anger has greeted the news that a riverside cycle path in North Wales might have to close due to vandalism.

The Afon Clwyd track, which runs between Rhyl and Rhuddlan, was recently fitted with no less than eight gates and a cattle grid to stop livestock wandering along it.

However, the gates have been vandalised several times and Denbighshire County Council now says it might close the track due to the cost of repairs.

The vandalism has resulted in stock migrating between fields owned by different landowners.

Roy Spilsbury, representative of cycling group CTC Cymru, said: "It is quite unthinkable that this highly valuable public facility should be placed in jeopardy through the irresponsible actions of what must be a tiny minority.

"It is to be hoped the public will assist in bringing the identity of the culprits to the attention of the authorities."

Glyn Evans, Sustrans' Area Manager in north Wales, said; “Sustrans has been working with Denbighshire County Council and CTC to improve the access measures along this section of the National Cycle Network and we are pleased with the improvements that have been made.

“It is a shame that route misuse by a small number of people is causing problems for the majority of pedestrians and cyclists that benefit from having access to this high quality traffic-free path. We hope the issues can be resolved.”

Councillor Eryl Williams, Denbighshire's lead cabinet member for Environment and Sustainable Development, said: "Closing this fantastic facility is the last thing we want to do, but we have to maintain the integrity of the land boundaries along the route.

"This route was implemented with the agreement of the landowners and the support of the local councillors, cycling groups and general public alike. It's a real shame that a small minority appear intent on ruining it for everybody."

A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: "This latest spell of vandalism has put the future of this beautiful path under significant threat. The cost of continually repairing the vandalised gates is so significant that Denbighshire will have no option but to consider permanently closing this cycleway."