AFTER more than 20 years Kingswear residents and visitors will soon be able to access Beacon Road down to Lighthouse Beach.

Officers from Devon County Council met with members of Dart Harbour and the chair of Kingswear Parish Council to discuss the way forward to reopen this once popular footpath and beach, which has been closed due to obstructions and cliff slides since the 1990s.

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins said: “At the last Full County Council meeting I requested this meeting to discuss where we now are and how the reopening of Beacon Road and Lighthouse Beach was progressing. “The reopening of Beacon Road is of great importance to residents of Dartmouth and Kingswear and many of our visitors. The views from this path are outstanding of the estuary and mouth of our river which are only available along this section.”

The closure has been down to negotiations between landowners which are now concluded. Stabilisation of the cliff starts soon and will take several months. Once the stabilisation work has been carried out by the private landowner, Devon County Council will carry out a survey to ensure no further stabilisation work is required before reopening.

Cllr Hawkins added: “Access has been denied by fears of falling rocks. Once this is stabilised it is hoped the much-loved beach will be open next year. This has been a long, long process but hopefully we are now seeing its conclusion. A huge thank you to all who have been working behind the scenes to get us this far.”

Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Public Rights of Way, joined Paul Britton DHNA Harbourmaster and DHNA board member Julian Distin;

Cllr Lynne Maurer, chair of Kingswear Parish Council; Annie Lovell from Dart Area landscape and Access Group; and John Fewings and Richard Walton from Devon County, to look at how to stabilise the cliff and repair the path.

The path to Lighthouse Beach was closed in June 1998 when it was obstructed by a landowner.

Annie Lovell said: “Since the obstruction was attached to county property the parish council reported the matter to the county council solicitor and it was opened again. However, June 1999 saw it closed once more and the access from the path on to the beach and foreshore has been obstructed ever since."

Access to the beach from the public footpath was blocked in 1999. Access from the river was not prohibited until July 2006.

Beacon Road was closed in 2012 after a cliff slide.