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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Cumbria regeneration group objects to plans to reclassify beaches

THE chairman of a group seeking to bolster the economy of Cumbria has criticised plans to de-classify two beaches as fit for swimming.

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CONTROVERSY Barrow Borough Council is to consult the public over plans to de-classify Roanhead, above, and Askam beaches as fit for swimming. Tim Bell, inset, chairman of Boosting Furness, objects to the plan

Barrow Borough Council’s executive committee voted to start a public consultation over the de-designation of Roanhead and Askam as bathing beaches due to safety concerns and low usage.

The move followed research from the Environment Agency which showed only 10 swimmers used Askam beach between 2000 and 2012, compared to West Shore at Walney, Furness’ most popular beach, which had 400. The figures were based on 260 visits of around 20 minutes.

Council chief executive Phil Huck recommended the de-designations to the council’s executive committee in light of the EA findings and backing from Duddon Inshore Rescue and the National Trust, which is responsible for Roanhead.

But Tim Bell, chairman of Boosting Furness, was disappointed with the vote on the beaches, which his group has identified among the main tourist attractions of Furness.

The former councillor, who was not convinced by the figures, said: “Historically, the Lake District has always been promoted as the central Lakes area, but they’ve never promoted the coastal areas which is why the Morecambe Bay Partnership and Boosting Furness are very keen to get the coastal areas better access and more enjoyed, appreciated and looked after – and facilities provided.

“The beaches here are the jewel in the crown. Askam and Roanhead are absolutely fantastic.”

The National Trust carried out 128 face-to-face surveys with Roanhead users during the 2012 bathing season. The most popular reason for a visit was to walk a dog (33 per cent). While 43 per cent considered the beach unsafe for swimming, 32 per cent were unsure, and 21 per cent considered it quite safe.

The meeting report said: “The National Trust accept Roanhead is not a typical seaside beach and that bathing is not the most significant part of Roanhead’s attraction for visitors. They also note Duddon Inshore Rescue’s support.”

Have your say

Roanhead and Askam are wonderful beaches there are some fantastic views I go there every day but historically they are treacherous and far too dangerous for swimming, great for recreational use go for a walk, take the kids, take dogs (please clean up) but stay on near on the shore, met a guy from the Orkneys this morning walking around the coast he set off in March from Yorkshire and expects to complete in June

Posted by local boy on 15 November 2013 at 18:51

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