Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

Disabled access could be reintroduced at ‘car free’ Pembrokeshire beach

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

Disabled driver access could be reintroduced at a ‘car-free’ Pembrokeshire beach depending on the recommendations of a report, members of the national park heard. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority recently ended parking on the Newport Sands beach after purchasing the land, in response to growing safety concerns and following decades of damage. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It said the beach would be a ‘car-free’ zone, with exceptions only allowed for emergency services and essential car users such as the RNLI and coastguards. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the time, National Park Authority Chief Executive Tegryn Jones said: “The Authority has acted after safety concerns were raised by the previous owners and members of the public, so we are hopeful people will understand and support the drive to make Newport Sands car-free.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A petition was later launched demanding a backtrack from the National Park, which has attracted more than 1,000 signatures to date. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It was claimed an outright ban will have an adverse effect on a wide cross-section of beach users, including disabled visitors. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the June meeting of the National Park Authority, members heard an update from Mr Jones, who said: “I think, when we were starting down this road we expected a degree of negativity,” conceding there had been both positive and negative feedback to the changes. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said one of the major issued highlighted was disabled access, adding that a specialist report on access had been commissioned by the National Park, which was expected soon. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“At the moment our plan is we don’t allow vehicles on the beach; that report may highlight the possibility of doing it,” said Mr Jones, adding there was a need to investigate whether there was a safe way of achieving access. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s possible at the next meting we will bring you the outcome of that report and we will engage in a discussion,” he said, adding: “We will continue to monitor the situation and see where we are, it is still a work in progress.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

To support the changes to parking in the area, the number of disabled parking spaces in the nearby car park has been doubled to six, along with a beach wheelchair provided by the National Park Authority available to hire from Newport Sands Surf Club. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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