The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has spoken of the need for authorities to provide greater information on the accessibility of local footpaths as a means of providing ‘parity of opportunity’ in accessing the region’s popular tourist spots. She has also underlined the need for maintenance works to remain a priority.
It comes as Disability Wales said some locations were seen as no-go areas for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues. Janet has long campaigned to see the Wales Coast Path between Deganwy and Llandudno cleared of sand to increase accessibility. Earlier this month, she also wrote to Conwy County Borough Council to raise concerns about the maintenance of footpaths around the Little Orme.
Commenting on the need for change, Janet said:
“As we look forward to a green recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, the championing of our footpaths should look to take centre stage, particularly if we are to bolster our relationship with nature. This is why the comments from Disability Wales about accessibility is so concerning.
“Whilst services were redeployed to other jobs throughout the pandemic, my letter to Conwy County Borough Council made clear that maintenance works should now be undertaken to improve access to central tourist spots, such as the Little Orme. Up-to-date information about accessibility to such spots should also be shared on a prominent page of the authority’s website.
“Likewise, the Wales Coast Path is a true national treasure, and we are very fortunate that communities all along Aberconwy’s shoreline are benefiting from its use. But the route between Deganwy and Llandudno must be better maintained, with people in wheelchairs no longer able to use the pathway.
“This requires leadership from the top, with officials changing their digital presence to actively publish better accessibility information. Suggestions for alternative routes should also be given to maintain parity of opportunity.
“I appreciate that all of our paths cannot be maintained and made accessible overnight. Whilst working to achieve that aim, I believe that NRW should set an example by creating a detailed map of the route showing which parts are accessible or not on their Wales Coast Path website.”
Notes to Editors:
- Please find a copy of Janet’s footpath letter attached.
- Launched in 2012, the Wales Coast footpath is 870 miles (1,400 km) long and was heralded as the first dedicated coast path in the world to cover the entire length of a country's coastline.
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS