Access to Jurassic coast beach 'closed'
A row has broken out between the Lulworth Estate and Natural England over work to repair steps to Durdle Door beach, one of the most visited spots on the Jurassic Coast.
The steps down to the beach, and its famous limestone arch, have been closed after being severely damaged by this winter's heavy rain.
But James Weld, from the Lulworth Estate which owns the land, said they would not be rebuilt this summer because of the Maritime and Coastal Access Act 2009.
Mr Weld said: "The consequence of the introduction of the coastal access scheme at Lulworth, and other places like Lulworth, will be to significantly reduce the quality of access, particularly because Natural England do not have the resources, experience or ability to effectively manage popular and much visited sites such as Lulworth.
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"Sadly, within the few short months since confirmation of the scheme at Lulworth, this has been proven to be the case. So while safe access to the beaches is still possible it is unlikely to be as convenient as before as I cannot see that Natural England have the resources or the willingness to continue the level of management and maintenance that the estate has striven to provide up to now".
However a spokesman for Natural England denied that was the case. He said: "Contrary to Mr Weld's statement, the legislation does not take land away from landowners or interfere with their freedom to manage it.
"Durdle Door beach still belongs to the Lulworth Estate, and is managed alongside the estate's nearby holiday park, generating revenue from visitors to the park and more widely. The estate has always maintained the steps down onto the beach and remains able to do so now."