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Snettisham – press release from the parish council

November 17, 2013

Press Statement by Snettisham Parish Council – 15 November 2013

There is to be a key meeting at NCC offices on 21st November where pressure will be applied on a Norfolk County Council (NCC) working group of members, to resolve once and for all, the access signage scandal and subsequent lawlessness that exists at Snettisham beach.

For the last four years villagers, visitors and holiday makers to Snettisham beach have been harassed and challenged by a few beach caravan and chalet owners when walking the Snettisham beach area. These owners have erected “Keep out / Private land” type signs and intimidated and aggressively challenged walkers, taking photographs of them and threatening the walkers with trespass prosecution if they don’t leave the beach area.

Snettisham Parish Council (SPC) has repeatedly requested NCC to address the problem of these unauthorised signs and the lawlessness with which the few caravan and chalet owners flaunt authority, and the disgraceful way in which they are intent on stopping all people from walking the beach area and footpath. This area is common land. Property owners have “freehold over common” titles. There can be no “private” land on a Common.

County Councillor John Dobson, concerned at the failure of NCC and other authorities to respond effectively to the SPC requests, invoked a Councillors Call for Action (CCfA) last year to force the County Council to take the lead in determining what the access rights are at Snettisham beach and to put an end to the chaos prevailing because of the misleading and inaccurate signage on access rights at Snettisham beach.

The view is that NCC has badly let down the West Norfolk community in:

  • Failing to take the lead, as the County Access Authority, in resolving this issue,
  • Not enforcing the removal of the unauthorised signage,
  • Not determining what the access rights are that apply to the beach area,
  • Failing to ensure the police are provided with clear guidance on access rights in order to manage the aggression and potential civil disruption / breaches of the peace between caravan / chalet owners and the villagers and visitors to the beach,
  • Failing to support the SPC in seeking a resolution and refusing to accept specialist opinion produced by the SPC with crass comments from staff such as “see me in court”.
  • Conniving over time with the caravan and chalet owners in the erection of their unauthorised and misleading access signage without informing / involving the SPC,
  • Allowing caravan and chalet owners to continue to harass, challenge and threaten  villagers and visitors to the beach,
  • Ignoring the sound opinion of such access rights specialists as, Open Spaces Society, Ramblers Association and Natural England regarding the unauthorised signage,
  • Allowing the caravan and chalet owners’ inaccurate and misleading signs to remain in place on the beach over the past years, thus giving the signage a false credence in the eyes of all who see them. and,
  • Totally ignoring the rights and traditions of the Snettisham villagers and of the many visitors seeking to explore and enjoy this well known and beautiful part of West Norfolk.

 

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