A battle lasting several years about a coastal footpath along the sea wall at Castlehaven in Niton, came to a conclusion this week when the restored footpath was finally re-opened.
The owners of Beach Cottage, the property next to the Village Green, had raised objection to the NT46 footpath running along the seawall directly in front of their property. They argued in an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate that it should “be recorded over the foreshore”.
However, the Planning Inspectorate explained that doing that would involve the deletion of a section of footpath and the modifications would lead to footpath NT46 running along another route.
Evidence from long-standing residents
The footpath was recorded as far back as 1950 as running, “along the top of the sea wall in front of Beach Cottage”. Evidence from many older residents in the village was given including:
- Mr and Mrs Foulsham, his knowledge dates back to well before the relevant date and she has known the area from 1966.
- Mr Mogg (born in the 1940s) recollects the site from 1950 onwards.
- Mrs Chessell (born in the 1950s) says there was a route along the sea wall to a small green area at the western end where people sat.
- The recollections of three siblings (Mr Bowen, Mrs Filose and Mrs Bowen) in a joint statement date back to different periods of time between the early 1950s and early 1960s.
- The evidence of another witness (Mr Rodley) dates back to the mid-1960s.
Privacy and security appreciated, but not relevant
The Inspector went on to refer to evidence of double-pecked lines on the Ordnance Survey map from 1908.
He dismissed the appeal and said,
“I appreciate the appellants concerns about the locality of the footpath and how it impacts on their privacy and security. However, such matters are not relevant to applications made under the 1981 Act.”
Hard work by all involved
The Isle of Wight council’s Rights of Way team, along with Niton and Whitwell Parish Council, Gift to Nature and the Niton Harbour Club, have all worked together over many years to ensure the restoration of the NT46 footpath.
The restoration of the Village Green is the first phase in a long-term plan and Gift to Nature have added the area into their portfolio.
Village Green under care of Gift to Nature
Graham Biss, Managing Director of Natural Enterprise, said
“Castlehaven Village Green is the newest site in our Gift to Nature portfolio and has some of the most stunning views.
“We realise how important it is to local people and visitors and have enjoyed working with Niton and Whitwell Parish Council to enhance its appearance.”
Further details can be found on the Parish council Website.
Pictured at the opening are, left to right, Wilf Payne, Niton Harbour Club; Royston Batcoe, Castlehaven Harbour Master; Peter Wells, Gift to Nature volunteer; Nick Webb, Gift to Nature Ranger; Cllr Dave Stewart; Darrel Clarke, Isle of Wight Council Rights of Way Manager; Cllr John Hobart, Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member for Heritage and Environment; Vickie Ford, Clerk to Niton and Whitwell Parish Council; Mark Donovan, Chairman Niton Harbour Club; and Carol Flux, Project Manager at Natural Enterprise.