North Wales councillors to consider coastal park creation report
Rory Sheehan, Local Democracy Reporter
Councillors are to consider a study exploring the potential for the creation of a Flintshire Coastal Park.
The idea of a coastal park for Flintshire has been mooted since 2014 but has been re-explored this year after the commission of a scoping study looking at its potential benefits.
It is hoped the creation of a coastal park would improve access and create jobs in communities across the Dee estuary.
A report on the study will be looked at in Flintshire Council’s Environment and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
An executive summary of the report states: “A Flintshire Coast Park for Flintshire would provide a fresh impetus and focus for the coast, raising the profile of the foreshore and enable communities and businesses to work sustainably and innovatively to help deliver environmental, economic and social prosperity.”
The study reports the findings of a Levelling Up Fund bid online consultation in which 1,500 Flintshire residents gave information about their use of the coast.
That consultation found the top three areas to be Talacre, Flint and Greenfield, and that in future there will be opportunity to attract visitors to the “less popular locations” such as Bagillt, Ffynnongroyw/Mostyn and Saltney.
The study states: “The top three reasons for visiting are leisure and recreation, tourism activities and shopping.
“In future food and drink could be targeted as an offer as a means of extending visitors’ dwell time on the coast and to increase spend in the area.
“The top three activities are walking/running, visiting the beach and visiting attractions. The regional park or coast park alternative could direct investment on the infrastructure and maintenance needed to support these activities.
“Cycling and bird watching are currently less popular, however future proposals for the coast could priorities these activities to diversify the offer on the coast.
It adds: “The top three items for improvement are car parking and toilets, additional walking trails and additional cycling trails.”
The study, researched and drafted by The Environment Partnership (TEP) Ltd with the council, also highlights some of the challenges that might be faced in encouraging residents to engage with the project.
It reports: “Fisheries and dock management have traditionally been important to the Flintshire coast, however, there has been a decline and loss of skills associated with these traditional industries.
“Consultation also reveals that some residents consider local heritage and natural environment assets along the coast to be associated with industrial decline and contamination and so choose not to engage with the coastal landscape.
“Flintshire has a large and relatively untapped market close to hand. The tourism sector businesses in Flintshire have made recommendations for tourism development along the coast, and these inform the coast park vision.”
Members of the scrutiny committee will be asked to pick the preferred coast park footprint, and support the Access and Natural Environment Manager in establishing a steering group to move forward on the next steps towards implementation.
The meeting takes place on Tuesday, October 11.
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