Posted: Wed 19th Jul 2023

Disabled access to Pembrokeshire beach purchased by national park unlikely to be reintroduced this year, says authority /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 19th, 2023

Disabled driver access is not expected to be reintroduced at a ‘car-free’ Pembrokeshire beach recently bought by the national park, at least for this year.
Earlier this year, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority 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.
Part of this included the later installation of a lockable barrier on the northern slipway and a boulder on the southern slipway.
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 a specialist report on potential disabled access had been commissioned; an update and report will now be heard by the July 26 meeting of the authority.
The update for members says the consultant’s report raises a number of issues.
“It recognises and accepts that any ongoing provision of disabled vehicular access onto the beach is potentially incompatible with the overarching objective of a ‘vehicle free’ natural environment.
“To mitigate that adverse impact, any provision would need to be extremely limited in scale.
“It is a reasonable expectation that any future provision would be materially different from the pre-existing practises.
“The existing beach access infrastructure would need to be assessed and adapted to ensure it was safe and fit for purpose before any beach parking offer could reasonably be offered to meet the essential needs of disabled people.”
The update says “it would be unreasonable and unrealistic to encourage or promote ongoing disabled beach parking for the foreseeable future”.
It adds: “The Authority’s assessment of the risks at Traeth Mawr highlight that it is presently unsafe for vehicles to access the beach (including disabled users) due to a range of issues.
“As a result, the Authority will continue to restrict vehicular access.”
It is proposed that members are provided with a future update after the first vehicle-free summer on the sands, along with options of how to improve disabled access. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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

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