Petition calls for rights of way to remain

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An online petition to preserve the right to walk on coastal pathways has already gathered over 1,300 signatures, as the Times went to press.

The petition is in response to a claim by businessman Seymour Sweeney to sections of land in Portrush and Portballintrae, and the risk to public access at both sites.

The petition was started by Alison Torrens, from Portstewart.

“The campaign and petition was initiated to highlight our disagreement with those elected representatives who decided to vote in favour of the developer,” she told The Coleraine Times.

“It is not directed at any developer but directed to all elected representatives, be it councillors or MLA’s who feel they have the right to sell off public paths, right of ways, or any public amenity, without offering the residents and ratepayers an opportunity to have a voice.”

Following a presentation to the Council from Portballintrae Community Group last Monday night, the residents said that they wanted to protect an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’.

A request by the residents group for further documents in relation to the land had not happened and they were ‘dissatisfied by the lack of information from the council.’

In a private meeting held at Cloonavon last Monday night, Coleraine Borough Council decided not to make any decisions on the various options presented.

In a statement this week, a spokesperson for Coleraine Borough Council said: “Council decided not to make any decision on the various options presented and elected to defer the entire case to Causeway Coast and Glens District Council (comes into effect as of 1st April 2015), as a live issue for its consideration and ultimate decision.”

The petition has garnered interest across NI and further afield. It states that it the Council has a responsibility to ‘assert, protect and keep open and free from obstruction any public right of way, make and preserve maps of the rights of way in its area.’

Change.org is the worlds largest social change platform, aiming to improve communities and influence the decision makers.

If you are interested in supporting the campaign the petition can be found at www.change.org