Natural England has begun to investigate how to improve coastal access along a 78 km stretch of the Kent coast and Thames Estuary between Grain and Woolwich.
The end point of this stretch was changed in April 2017 from Gravesend in Kent to Woolwich in London in order to join the capital to the England Coast Path along the Thames Estuary.
Officers from Kent County Council, Medway Council, London Borough of Bexley and Royal Borough of Greenwich are providing Natural England with expert local advice and helping to make sure there is full consultation with local interests during the development of the route.
On 5 June 2019, Natural England submitted a collection of reports to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out the proposals for improved access to the coast between Grain and Woolwich.
Anyone can comment on the proposals (make a representation). Landowners and occupiers can make an objection.
Representations and objections must reach Natural England by midnight, Wednesday 31 July 2019.
Objections are forwarded for consideration by an independent planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. The inspector will make recommendations to the Secretary of State in respect of each one.
Natural England may not make any further changes to the reports as a result of the representations and objections, but will make comments about them for consideration by the Secretary of State and, in the case of objections, the appointed person (an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate).
The Secretary of State will consider all the representations and objections before making a decision about Natural England’s reports.
Stage 5: Open
Once the Secretary of State has approved the reports, Natural England will start work with Kent County Council, Medway Council, London Borough of Bexley and Royal Borough of Greenwich on preparing the route for public use.
The first step will be to contact owners and occupiers of the affected land to discuss the design and location of any new infrastructure which is required such as signs and gates.
When preparations are complete, new access rights will be brought into force along the route and adjoining spreading room.