Beach mobility scooter

A campaign group in Essex is celebrating after permission was granted to improve access to a beach after a series of accidents took place on the worn pathway.

Access to the seafront at Concord Beach has been difficult for those using wheelchairs and mobility scooters, according to a recent article in the Halstead Gazette, due to only part of the pathway being asphalted. Over time, a small ridge has appeared where the asphalt meets the unmade path, causing people to trip and fall or prevent those with mobility issues from accessing the seafront.

Improving access at Essex beach

Campaign group Friends of Concord Beach have been working towards improving access to their beloved beach. Colin Letchford, chairman of the campaign, said: “When they built the seawall in 1985 they made a few ramps on the seawall so people could access it.

“In 2000 some work was done along the seafront and some of the accesses to Concord Beach were asphalted, but only one-third of this pathway ramp was done. So two-thirds of it are still very coarse and unpaved.”

Colin told the Halstead Gazette that the path has become warn and washed away creating a “bump” which has led to a few incidents. He added: “One person on a mobility scooter tried to ride over it, but it was too steep for them to get up and they ended up tipping over. Others have tripped over it too.

“It is also very difficult for anyone in a wheelchair to get there or for people with buggies to access it, which means some people have stopped using it at all or have a very long journey to the access point.”

After years of accidents and campaigning, the Environment Agency has granted permission to tarmac the whole pathway to create improved access. Mr Letchfield praised the decision but warned more could be done to make Concord Beach accessible to all: “Ideally we would hope to put in a properly disabled ramp, but that would cost about £100,000. In the meantime, we can get this into proper condition.

“We have been raising funds for various things for a while and this shouldn’t be too expensive as most of the labour will be done by volunteers from the friend’s group.

“It’s a small change for improving access at Essex beach, but one we hope will make a huge difference to a lot of people who want to enjoy the seafront.”

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