A section of the Bulverhythe Coastal Link cycle and pedestrian route, damaged by severe winter weather,
has been temporarily repaired whilst council bosses consider a permanent solution.
Part of the Bulverhythe Coastal Link between Bexhill and Hastings was left damaged by a severe storm in October and forced to close after being battered by three subsequent storms which caused the tide to breach sea defences.
The damaged 300m section of the 1.36 mile beachside route, which is shared by cyclists and pedestrians, has now been made accessible in time for the Easter break after East Sussex County Council (ESCC) contractors installed a temporary surface.
The authority say 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 a surface more able to withstand extreme weather conditions such as tarmac which many believed ought to have been used initially. Many questioned the durability of the Netpave rubbery material with some cyclists saying it was not only difficult to cycle on but was often covered in stones.
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” but says ESCC need 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 say 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 they repair 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.”