Southport is a popular sea-side resort and together with the areas that surround it provides a wide variety of leisure and recreational facilities for visitors and residents.
Generations of folk have chosen to visit the beaches of Southport and in particular Ainsdale to take exercise, play, bathe and picnic. The beach is a happy place for families and creates truly evocative and shared family experiences.
Southport and Ainsdale beaches are a fundamental element of Southport’s appeal as a place to visit and live.
Visitor expectation has been encouraged by successive tourism departments of Southport and Sefton. The Sefton Tourism Department’s marketing of Southport and Ainsdale beaches as being beneficial to health and wellbeing has been very successful. Southport’s unconditional ‘welcome at the seaside’ message has etched itself in the minds of many and continues to resonate.
Residents and visitors to Southport and Ainsdale have (until 1st October 2015) enjoyed largely unfettered vehicular access to the beach. The provision of unrestricted ‘on the beach parking’ is an almost unique facility that makes Southport and Ainsdale a preferred visitor destination.
In a letter to Ainsdale Civic Society, Sefton Coast and Countryside Department have stated that the beach closure is entirely due to ‘reduced resources’. There is no evidence offered to suggest that beach parking is detrimental to the environmental stability of the area.
Beach parking has provided a significant income stream to the Sefton MDC, one that will be diminished when the visiting public can no longer rely on the beach being available to them and their vehicles whenever they choose to visit.
The decision of Sefton M.D.C. to ‘close’ Ainsdale beach to vehicular traffic in the winter months has been taken:
- Without public consultation
- Against the wishes of Ward Councillors
- With disregard to the needs of the less able
- In receipt of unreliable information
- Irrespective of the environmental consequence
- Lacking a published programme of reparation
The members of Ainsdale Civic Society and many residents of Southport believe that denying the opportunity for the public to access the beach in their vehicles will have a far reaching and detrimental effect upon the aspirations of Southport to promote itself as a great place to live, work and visit.
We feel that the decision should be reversed with immediate effect and no further decisions made until the public have been properly consulted.
Tony Brough (Chairman of the Ainsdale civic Society) says:
“Unrestricted access to Ainsdale beach is a priceless gift to its users – budgetary constraint is not a good enough reason to withdraw the facility and deny users their customary privilege”.
“The unilateral decision to close Ainsdale beach to vehicles in winter exposes an unhealthy arrogance on the part of Sefton Council in acting against the protestations of Ainsdale’s Elected Members and the wishes of the community they represent. It further damages public confidence in the local democratic process”.
“The coast and beaches of Sefton is the cornerstone feature of residential amenity and visitor attractions to the Borough– access to them should be encouraged and enhanced – not diminished in the interest of petty fiscal expediency”.
We are delighted to say that our online petition has got almost 400 signatures in 24 hours – that is great but we need lots more.
This is NOT the same petition that is on the Sefton MBC site – this is our petition. Of course we are still supporting our Councillors in their efforts and we still have paper copies in the local shops if you prefer.
If we are to get this decision reversed then we must show that this is what the people want. So we are asking people to please sign, share on Facebook or Twitter if they have those accounts and share with their friends and family.
Our goal is to reach at least 1000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
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