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Rhossili beach access problem 'must be fixed by spring bank holiday'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 29, 2014

By Richard Youle / richard.youle@swwmedia.co.uk / @YoulePost

The damage caused to the steps at Rhossili beach.

The damage caused to the steps at Rhossili beach.

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TOURISM in Gower is being harmed by the continued absence of steps leading to award-winning Rhossili beach, it has been claimed.

Tracey Button is one of several business people in the area to urge the authorities to speed up the replacement job after winter storms washed a section of the steps away.

"It's just so frustrating," said Mrs Button. "It took 56 days to replace the main railway line at Dawlish."

She felt the authorities ought to put temporary steps in place, and said it was vital to have something in situ in time for the spring bank holiday weekend at the end of May.

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Swansea Council, which does not own the land, but is leading the repair project because the damaged steps and path are an adopted right of way, said it hoped to complete a repair by the end of May.

Mrs Button, of Pitton Cross Caravan and Camping, added that walkers were trampling on the area to find their own way down, despite signs warning of the problem.

Her husband Ian said he saw a young family on Sunday attempting to climb the muddy route where the steps had been eroded.

"I said to them, 'Just don't climb there'," said Mr Button.

"I would not even have dreamt of doing that with my kids."

The ground around the steps is part of a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning the council has been liaising with Welsh Government heritage body Cadw and Natural Resources Wales, as well as landowner the National Trust.

A sign has also been fixed at the top of the path, at Rhossili village.

Mr Button said he believed the council was trying hard.

"I think it is bureaucracy slowing it (the repair job) down, not the will of the council," he said.

Earlier this month a bedraggled pensioner appeared at the Worm's Head Hotel bar having struggled for hours in the dark to ascend the muddy path from the beach.

The Post asked if the steps would be replaced in time for the bank holiday, starting May 24.

A council spokesman said: "This site's scientific and archaeological importance means permission from Natural Resources Wales and Cadw is needed before work can start on relocating the footpath and constructing new steps. We're continuing to work closely alongside staff in these organisations and hope work will be finished on site by the end of May."

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