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Fisherman set to defy council order to remove gate within seven days

PUBLISHED: 11:26 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:26 05 August 2019

Gated entrance to West Runton beach. Picture: Bev Burnham

Gated entrance to West Runton beach. Picture: Bev Burnham

Archant

A fisherman is set to defy a council notice to remove a fence within seven days from a north Norfolk beach.

People protesting against gate at West Runton beach. It has now been removed. L-R, Bev Burnham, Liz Quigley, Nigel and Teresa Turner. Pictures: David BalePeople protesting against gate at West Runton beach. It has now been removed. L-R, Bev Burnham, Liz Quigley, Nigel and Teresa Turner. Pictures: David Bale

Fisherman David Chambers has received a letter from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) telling him to take down the part of the fence at West Runton beach on its land.

Beachgoers are furious that he installed the security fence and gate which blocks the main public access to the beach.

A spokesman for NNDC said its solicitors had written to Mr Chambers requiring the fence on its land to be removed within seven days.

An NNDC spokesman said: "The remainder (of the fence) is on unregistered land so we cannot require this to be removed. A significant portion of the fencing is on NNDC land.

"The path will not be completely cleared but should leave enough space for people to pass. We remain committed to getting the whole area cleared."

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Mr Chambers, 72, however, who received the council letter on Friday, said the authority did not own any of the land.

He said: "The gates were put up as a symbol that the land is not a public right of way.

"I have instructed my solicitors to write to the council to say I cannot take the gates down within seven days, and to put it back to 28 or 30 days, so the gates will stay at present.

"But the gates will never be locked, except for special reasons, for example, if there were a dead body on the beach and we didn't want people walking by it."

He is, however, willing to negotiate, and added: "I'm quite happy to go into a meeting about it."

He claims his vehicles have been damaged on the beach and said he erected the gate for health and safety reasons.

But visitors are still angry and Jill Townsin said: "I cannot believe this has been allowed to happen. This is going to discourage families going to this beach as small children and older people cannot get to the beach if the gates are closed/locked, and they have to use the lower level."

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