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Selfish vandals may delay Coppet Hall to Wisemans Bridge tunnels reopening

Damaged caused to the safety fencing on the Wisemans Bridge side (Pic: Cllr Chris Williams)

A SCHEME to reopen a landslide-hit coastal path and tunnels near Saundersfoot may be hindered by people putting others at risk by repeatedly cutting open safety barriers and fencing, a local councillor has warned.

Barriers and warning signs have been in place at the entrance to the ‘short tunnel’ – the first of the two which lead from Coppet Hall to Wisemans Bridge, along with fencing on the Wisemans side – since landslips in the area in recent months ago which led to the closure of the popular coastal walkway.

But because the signs have been ignored by some people, along with damage caused, a gate has now been put in place on the Coppet Hall side.

Fencing on the opposite side has now been targeted, with a hole cut through.

County councillor for Saundersfoot South, Cllr Chris Williams said: “The new safety fence to prevent access at Wiseman’s Bridge has now been cut to gain access.

Saundersfoot councillor Chris Williams (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

“I’m lost for words on this to be honest, and would welcome any news on who is putting others at risk with this selfish action.”

He added: “The safety teams have gone in after the massive rockfall on the tunnel entrance; it’s not safe until they do the works.

“I pushed for security fencing on both sides; on the security fencing on the Coppet Hall side, they’ve already gone through with bolt-cutters.”

He warned that the vandalism could hinder the reopening of the popular walk connecting Saundersfoot with Wisemans Bridge.

“It’s so disappointing, Pembrokeshire County Council have done everything they can, trying to respect the safety concerns of the contractors who are starting in the next week or two, and are hoping it will be open by July.

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“Once they start on the works this could hinder contractors; we are trying our best with it, once you cut a hole people may go in not being aware of the dangers.”

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 have recently been 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.

When the scheme was brought before the county council’s Cabinet it was hoped the works would be completed by the summer holidays.