Natural England has begun to investigate how to improve coastal access along a 77 km stretch of the Dorset coast between Lulworth Cove and Highcliffe. This new access is expected to be ready in 2018.
Officers from Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole 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.
Natural England is now visiting all the land on this stretch of coast that is likely to be affected by our proposals and discussing the options in detail with:
people who own or manage the land
relevant local and national organisations who have an interest in the stretch.
After final discussions have been held with those who have a legal interest in the land, Natural England will begin refining and checking their proposals to improve access to this stretch of coast. This may start sooner for some sections of the stretch than others.
The proposals will be finalised and then published in a report to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This is expected to take place in autumn/winter 2017. Once published, the report will be available on GOV.UK and advertised in the local press.
Copies of the report will be placed in council offices and other appropriate locations in the local area for people to view.
Natural England will contact affected owners and occupiers and the local and national organisations that must be notified by law, to make sure they’re aware that the report has been published.
Stage 4: Determine
Once the report has been published, you’ll have 8 weeks to comment on the proposals.
Anyone who wishes to comment will be able to make a representation on the report and owners or occupiers of affected land will be able to make an objection.
The Secretary of State will consider all representations and objections before making a decision about approval of Natural England’s report.
For advice on making a representation or objection, see the detailed guide below.
On 21 June 2017, Natural England submitted a report to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out the proposals for improved access to the coast between Kimmeridge Bay and Highcliffe.
The period for making representations and objections about the report closed at midnight on Wednesday 16 August. The report is still available to view.
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 report 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 report.
Stage 5: Open
Once the Secretary of State has approved the report, Natural England will start work with Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole 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. This is expected to happen late 2018 / early 2019.