Previously a wooden structure was privately installed on the beach at the end of Shore Path, Gurnard. The location of this facility sits on land the council manages for the Crown under a Regulating Lease.
In October 2018 an accident occurred whereby a member of the public slipped when attempting to use this facility. This was reported to the council which was followed up with an inspection, resulting in the structure being deemed unsafe to use.
Councillor John Hobart, Cabinet member for environment and heritage has said:
“Even though the upkeep and maintenance responsibilities are not the Isle of Wight Council’s, we do have a duty of care to persons wanting to go on the beach via this route. We are not in a financial position to undertake any repairs and would not do so on structures that do not belong to this Authority. In order to ensure public safety and to keep costs at a minimum we installed fencing to stop access”.
It had been planned that the structure should be fenced off indefinitely unless the owner of the facility comes forward. However, due to passionate pleas and public demand the fence has now been realigned to enable the public to access the beach by the private path adjacent to the slipway.
Unless the owner of the slipway comes forward and undertakes the necessary repairs and maintenance to ensure that it is safe to use, the council has no intentions of removing the partial fencing. For anyone wishing to launch a boat, there is a public slipway adjacent to Gurnard Sailing Club, as well as the club’s own slipway.