Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Progress on Coastal Path upgrade campaign

I am keeping up the pressure to complete much needed upgrades of the North Down Coastal Path in order to make the path safe and accessible to all. The path runs from Bangor to Kinnegar in Holywood and has been upgraded in sections over the last number of years but travel between Seahill and Cultra remains challenging in places with very narrow paths and steep drops to the rocks and shoreline.

After raising the issue at the Council’s monthly Community & Wellbeing Committee meeting I was delighted to receive a detailed update from Council officers outlining exciting plans for a Kinnegar to Donaghadee Greenway via the North Down Coastal Path. 


Example section requiring upgrade
Plans are currently being finalised with public consultation on the developed design scheduled to occur from late April with a public information event and opportunity to submit views over a 12 week period. Views will then be collated and proposed design then presented to Council for approval. An update report is also due to be received by Council in April 2018 detailing progress concerning Council’s wider Greenway strategy which hopes to connect up many parts of the Borough via traffic free routes.

Whilst any upgrade of the North Down Coastal Path must respect and protect the local environment, as has been proven in other sections, innovative ways exist to upgrade the path whilst ensuring the tranquil nature is preserved. Whether it’s improved physical and mental health, enabling more sustainable transport or increased trade for local businesses upgrade of the North Down Coastal Path has enormous positive potential as part of wider Kinnegar to Donaghadee Greenway. The Comber Greenway and others across the British Isles are great examples of what’s possible.

As a keen runner I regularly use the North Down Coastal path and was involved in securing upgrade of previous sections such as the new Boardwalk which replaced the steep steps at Seahill and obtaining 24/7 access between the Kinnegar and Airport Road sectors linking Holywood and Belfast. With the route now upgraded the entire way from Seahill to Bangor many people can be found enjoying the path especially with the arrival of brighter nights. Whether it’s walkers, runners, those exercising their dogs or, cyclists (where permissible and safe to do so at a leisurely pace) success of this shared path is something to celebrate.