Lighthouse Beach, Beacon Road, Kingswear, Devon
It is many years since Lighthouse Beach was closed by someone who was building a house on an adjacent property and the attempts to get it reopened have been extremely frustrating but we have not given up. Natural England has been reviewing coastal access between Lyme Regis and Kingswear and has recently published its proposals. These can be found at the following web site.
You may find the document difficult to follow as it addresses only those areas of coast that will be barred to public access and so does not mention Lighthouse Beach specifically. To clarify this matter I obtained the following from Natural England.
Dear Mr Stevens
Many thanks for getting in touch following the publication of Natural England’s coastal access report for Kingswear to Lyme Regis.
Under the coastal access legislation all areas of beach and foreshore are included in our proposals by default, as one of the main guiding principles is to allow access to these areas. Therefore Lighthouse Beach is included in our coastal access proposals as part of the accessible coastal margin (‘spreading room’) which will become subject to coastal access rights once the coastal access legislation comes into force on this stretch of coast. This means that people would have the legal right to walk on the beach.
Natural England does not have the power to remove barriers to access to areas of ‘coastal margin’ - in this case the locked gate and fencing before the beach. Devon County Council does however have this power and may choose to exercise this when these proposals come into force. I have been in touch with the Council and they are aware of the local demand for this barrier to be removed.
Following the eight week period following publication (ending on 25 May) all objections and representations submitted will be considered and independently assessed. The Planning Inspectorate will decide if any objections need to be investigated further. Depending on the decisions made following this then the proposals will either be signed off by the Secretary of State or amended as appropriate. There will then be a period of ‘establishment’ for any areas of the route which need works (for example improvements to infrastructure such as gates etc), before the ‘coastal access rights’ will formally commence on the stretch of coast between Kingswear and Lyme Regis. We envisage that this will happen during 2018.
I hope this helps to clarify our proposals in relation to Lighthouse Beach.
Lead Adviser - Coastal Access (Devon, Cornwall & Exmoor), Natural England
Devon, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Area Team
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone 0208 0267602
Natural England insists that you use their form to make any representations. A partially completed form can be found here which you could use as a basis for your own response with suitable changes to the wording. It should then be printed out and posted to the above address or emailed as an attachment to their email address above.
If you are interested in the background please click on The History of Lighthouse Beach.
Between 1894 and 1999 there are 94 references to Lighthouse Beach in the Parish Council minutes which show that the public have enjoyed use of the beach as of right for at least 140 years.