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Reopening of landslide-hit Pembrokeshire coastal path delayed

Works on the landslide-hit coast path (Pic: Gareth Davies Photography)

THE HOPED-FOR reopening of a landslide-hit coastal path and tunnels near Saundersfoot at the start of the summer holidays has been delayed until later in the season.

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.

Pembrokeshire County Council has said that the work to stabilise the cliffs and tunnels so that the path can be re-opened is likely to cost around £600,000, with funding coming either from outside agencies or the council budget.

Welsh Government Active travel fund grants were recently awarded for the works, with £452,000 to build a shared use path at The Ridgeway/The Incline, Saundersfoot, and £300,019 for Wisemans Bridge.

At the March meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, members backed the works, with a hoped-for finish date of the start of the summer holidays.

“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.

Works on the landslide-hit coast path (Pic: Gareth Davies Photography)

An alternative route was considered not suitable for less-able users or cyclists, a report for members adding: “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.”

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council recently said: “The contract for the cliff stabilisation works has been awarded to iBEX Technical Access who have extensive experience of this type of work and have worked in the Saundersfoot area previously.

“A third landslip has occurred since the contract was awarded which also has to be repaired. However, works are progressing well.”

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However, the completion of the works has been delayed, partly due to the extra landslip.

Pembrokeshire County Council said: “Unfortunately, we will not be able to open the Wisemans Bridge to Saundersfoot tramway before the commencement of the main holiday period.

“Opening is delayed until early August as a consequence of additional works required, including the occurrence of another landslip along the path.

“This has required us to instruct the contractor to carry out additional remedial works whilst on site and erosion of the sea wall.

“Together with the contractor we are continuing to consider all options for mitigating delays.

We have, and will continue to explore various potential options, to try and better the opening date but cannot rule out further issues being identified.”