Vehicle ban for beach requested

PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 14:44 09 April 2010

COUNTY highways bosses want to ban vehicles from Shelly Beach, saying it puts pedestrians in danger. Exmouth Quay Residents' Association had previously complained to East Devon District Council that a vehicle using Belshers Slipway, leading on to Shelly B

COUNTY highways bosses want to ban vehicles from Shelly Beach, saying it puts pedestrians in danger. Exmouth Quay Residents' Association had previously complained to East Devon District Council that a vehicle using Belshers Slipway, leading on to Shelly Beach, was an accident waiting to happen. Residents have also complained about vehicles - especially four-wheel-drives - clogging up the beach as boats are being launched. Now, this week, county officers have decided to ask land owners East Devon District Council for a new bye-law to be imposed. A county council spokesman said: "The committee decided to put in a request to East Devon District Council to implement a bye-law which would prohibit driving or parking on Shelly Beach. "Restrictions on the slipway would only be considered if, for any reason, the ban on driving and parking proved to be ineffective." The slipway was added in the early 1990s in response to pressure from local boat users - ever since the docks were built Exmouth sailors have had the long established custom of launching boats from there. And this week Devon County Council waded in and looked at options, including using the Highways Act to down-grade it to footpath status. But county solicitor Roger Gash admitted that this option may be going further than what 'most people want'. They also considered limiting the use of the slipway through a combination of class, size or weight - but the wording needed to be 'precise' so as not to penalise legitimate users. The other possibility was a barrier - but Mr Gash said a fixed bollard would 'probably' end up being vandalised. He said: "Belshers Slipway is undoubtedly a public highway and is therefore subject to all the usual controls available to a Highway Authority. "However, the access which it provides to the beach has been abused by motorists who actually take their vehicles on to the foreshore for purposes generally, but not invariably, connected with watercraft. "The conflict between a pedestrian user of the adjoining footway and a vehicle user of the slipway is also a cause for concern." He added that the district council was conducting a feasibility study to build more slipways along the sea front at Queens Drive, near the new lifeboat station - and if that happened it may 'supercede' the Belshers Slipway problem.


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