Burton Greenway Closed Due to Anti-Social Behaviour
|Published: 11th May 2020 09:32|
UPDATE - 19.5.2020 - Greenway to reopen this week. See new article here.
Original article follows:
Burton Marsh Greenway, also known as Sustrans Route 568, is a pathway linking England and Wales, crossing land owned by the RSPB.
Opened in July 2013, it offers walkers and cyclists a picturesque, but also efficient, link between Neston and Deeside.
In recent weeks, since the COVID-19 lockdown, increasing numbers of users have been flouting distancing rules on the route, making it difficult for walkers and cyclists to happily co-exist there.
Members of RSPB staff, trying to monitor and offer guidance to users, have been subject to abuse, whilst groups gathering on the path have had to be moved on by police.
As a result, access gates to the path on RSPB land have been padlocked shut. Signs posted on the gates read: "Due to the high incidence of anti-social and abusive behaviour RSPB staff have experienced when asking users to adhere to current Coronavirus guidance and existing bye-laws, this permissive access path is now shut until further notice."
Councillor Louise Gittins, member for Little Neston and Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "I've asked for a teleconference this morning between myself, Cheshire West and Chester officers, the RSPB, police and Flintshire Council to find a sustainable solution.
"It's disappointing that a minority of people have been ignoring social distancing rules.
"If this is the new norm, we all need to find a way of dealing with shared space and everyone needs to play their part in beating the virus.
"People need to continue to be vigilant about social distancing and hand washing after touching shared surfaces. If infections start to rise we risk going back into complete lockdown."
A spokesperson for the RSPB said: "Sadly, due to a high number of anti-social behaviour incidents over the recent weeks, the permissive Burton Marsh path that leads to Burton Point has been closed to the public until further notice.
"This weekend, our staff dealt with high numbers of trespassers onto the RSPB reserve, were verbally abused and threatened by members of the public and had to call on stretched police forces for support in managing this section of path.
"Therefore, with support from the local police, we have taken the decision to close this privately owned path to protect our staff, the community, breeding wildlife, livestock and reduce pressure on our emergency services.
"We appreciate that this is disappointing to those who use this path and cycle way peacefully but this decision was made to protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff, local community, livestock and wildlife."