Brighton to Peacehaven cliff footpath row steps up a gear

Ramblers at the former footpath on the cliff tops between Brighton and Peacehaven – Picture by Ian Parsons

Ramblers at the former footpath on the cliff tops between Brighton and Peacehaven – Picture by Ian Parsons

First published in News by

Ramblers are threatening legal action against a water company which they say has unlawfully blocked a public footpath.

Members of Sussex Ramblers claim that Southern Water has fenced off a section of the Brighton to Peacehaven cliff path for its Portobello pumping station works without the required permission.

Chris Smith, from the group, said: “We accepted that the work had to be done, but it has now been finished for a while.

“We were patient because we were under the impression that they had obtained the relevant approval.

“However, after some digging around by David Brookshaw of the South Downs Society, it became clear that they hadn’t.”

The matter dates back some 20 years, when the previous water company set about constructing the pumping station.

Keep out signs were erected and, despite heavy opposition, the construction went ahead.

In recent years ramblers, East Sussex County Council, which is responsible for keeping the path, and the water company have attempted to come to a compromise.

Footbridge suggestion

Mr Smith added: “We have tried to speak to them whenever we can and have suggested the option of reinstating the footpath in the form of a footbridge.

“We are in this for the long run though.

“We have taken legal advice and have made sure we have sufficient funding to take this all the way.

“If Southern Water went and dug up the coast road and then left it, there would be uproar. But because it’s a footpath, they think they can get away with it.”

The group notified Southern Water three weeks ago of their intention to take legal action, but are yet to receive a response.

Cliff excavation

A company spokeswoman said: “We are committed to resolving this longstanding matter and are continuing our discussions with East Sussex County Council.

“The footpath cannot be reinstated along the original alignment, as a section of it is in mid-air due to the essential cliff excavation work carried out by the water authority in the early 1970s.

“This excavation took place when the present Portobello works were constructed, which was prior to Southern Water taking over the operation of this site.

“We will continue our discussions with the county council to secure a resolution.”

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Comments (6)

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12:23pm Mon 17 Dec 12

mustaphaLeeko says...

Why not just walk round if part of the cliff is now missing?

Is it a case of bloody mindedness given that they are only walking past the front of a water treatment works anyway?

Don't see the problem myself, I'd be quite happy with a small detour personally.
Why not just walk round if part of the cliff is now missing? Is it a case of bloody mindedness given that they are only walking past the front of a water treatment works anyway? Don't see the problem myself, I'd be quite happy with a small detour personally. mustaphaLeeko
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Mon 17 Dec 12

Old Ale Man says...

Hoogstrarten once closed off a public footparth and ESCC back the ramblers all the way to the high court, interesting times ahead may be???
Hoogstrarten once closed off a public footparth and ESCC back the ramblers all the way to the high court, interesting times ahead may be??? Old Ale Man
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Mon 17 Dec 12

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Southern Water are a disgraceful company - the Conservatives should never have sold off our water - it results in this - bad companies who are only interested in making a profit and not ploughing back profits into the company so it's kept properly and the people who run the company acting illegally if it so suits them.
Southern Water are a disgraceful company - the Conservatives should never have sold off our water - it results in this - bad companies who are only interested in making a profit and not ploughing back profits into the company so it's kept properly and the people who run the company acting illegally if it so suits them. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Mon 17 Dec 12

Crystal Ball says...

They could always ramble in the other direction/into the sunset.
They could always ramble in the other direction/into the sunset. Crystal Ball
  • Score: 0

7:59am Tue 18 Dec 12

whereisthe...? says...

Typical modern behaviour by a corporation - especially when they know the Coalition will cosy up to them, and they can do what they like.


Do people really not mind being treated like ants by such companies...?
Typical modern behaviour by a corporation - especially when they know the Coalition will cosy up to them, and they can do what they like. Do people really not mind being treated like ants by such companies...? whereisthe...?
  • Score: 0

8:02am Tue 18 Dec 12

whereisthe...? says...

A further thought - where is the council in all of this?! Why is the Argus lazy enough to not bother even contacting them to ask for a comment?!


Oh, that would be 'cos the Tory councillors are in the pocket of Southern water, and since this is a Tory paper.... You can figure out the rest....!
A further thought - where is the council in all of this?! Why is the Argus lazy enough to not bother even contacting them to ask for a comment?! Oh, that would be 'cos the Tory councillors are in the pocket of Southern water, and since this is a Tory paper.... You can figure out the rest....! whereisthe...?
  • Score: 0

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