Fisherman has seven days to remove part of metal barrier blocking access to beach
PUBLISHED: 11:46 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:17 02 August 2019
A fisherman must remove part of a controversial metal barrier he has erected at the entranceway to a Norfolk beach.
Beach-goers are furious that the security fence and gate has been installed blocking public access to popular West Runton beach.
Fisherman David Chambers, who launches his boat from the site, said he erected the gate for health and safety reasons, and to protect his gear from theft and vandalism. But villagers cannot understand his reasoning and blasted the action.
The beach is now inaccessible on foot from West Runton, when the gate is locked or when the adjacent slipway is under water, at high tide.
North Norfolk District Council is monitoring the situation, and a spokesman said: "We would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything possible to maintain access to the beach at West Runton.
"Now that the fence is complete we can confirm that part of it is on the council's land.
"As such, our solicitors have been instructed to write to Mr Chambers requiring the fence on our land to be removed within seven days.
"The remainder is on unregistered land so we cannot require this to be removed."
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The council has also contacted Natural England about the structure possibly comprising a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
Mr Chambers, 72, however, said it was not a public right of way, and disputed the council's claim that it owned part of the land.
He said he would fight "tooth and nail" against any plans to remove the gate.
Several people in the area have criticised Mr Chambers' actions, including Nigel Turner, 63.
He said: "When the next influx of tourists arrives here, on the weekend, they will see this gate, and go somewhere else."
Liz Quigley, from Cromer, said: "It's a very unfriendly barrier. I come here because it's so accessible for my boys (dogs).
"But there's now a feeling of oppression. There are metal spikes on the barrier."
Another beachgoer said: "I'm mystified as to how the gate will stop damage to boats or prevent theft. Not sure what the reasoning is behind all this."