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Popular Pembrokeshire coastal path ‘Tramway’ could be open by summer

Pembrokeshire County Council

A POPULAR Pembrokeshire coastal path, closed after being hit by a series of landslips, could be open by the start of the school summer holidays at a cost of £600,000, senior councillors heard.

The coast path between Wiseman’s Bridge and Coppet Hall/Saundersfoot, known as the Tramway, experienced ‘substantial rock falls’ late last year and in January.

The January major fall happened at the Coppet Hall end of this section of path, while the November landslides were closer toward the Wisemans Bridge end of the path.

At the March 11 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, members head the cost of works was estimated at £600,000, with grant funding actively pursued, but, as yet unsecured: a Welsh Government Active Travel Grant of £300,000, National Parks Partnership £250,000, and SUSTRANS £50,000.

Any grants secured for the works on the Wisemans Bridge-Saundersfoot route will have the effect of reducing the council’s funding requirement, members were told.

“If we do not restore the route, it could lead to process to permanently close this section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and a National Cycle Route,” members heard.

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“There is an alternative, signed diversionary route in place at the moment; however, this route (given the steep topography) is not suitable for less-able users or cyclists.

“The on-road section has considerable gradients, few safe refuges from oncoming vehicles, and is considerably longer.

“Furthermore, many of the local residents and businesses in the area depend on the link to access work, retail and health facilities in the area. Businesses depend upon the link during the summer months to attract tourists to the area and support the local economy.

“These factors, when taken into consideration against the likely costs of undertaking the works and the wider health and well-being benefits provided, indicate that restoring the route is the preferred option.”

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting, local county councillor Alec Cormack moved approval of the scheme, echoing the concerns raised in the report.

He added: “I do hope we can get this open by July, it’s having a huge impact on the businesses in Wisemans Bridge and Coppet Hall as well; I do hope grant-funding will be forthcoming, if not I do hope it can be added to the council’s capital programme.”

Members backed a recommendation to approve the £600,000 capital costs works, the cost being met by the council if grant funding is unsuccessful, along with a £36,000 cost from preliminary associated works.

The Tramway path is part of the Wales Coast Path and goes through three tunnels between Saundersfoot and Wiseman’s Bridge.

The safe, level footpath, accessible to all, is the busiest section of public right of way maintained by Pembrokeshire council, with more than 481,000 users recorded in 2021.

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