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City MP criticises ‘farce of administrivia’ as Council drags its feet on treasured Camber Right of Way

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the City Council to get on with work to establish a public byway at Town Quay, the Camber in Old Portsmouth.

Since 2014 a dedicated group of local residents have been attempting to establish this route, beginning at Trimmers Court junction with East Street, round the quayside edge to the Bridge Tavern and the southern end of Trimmer Court.

The route was long understood to be an informal by-way, enjoyed by local ramblers and walking enthusiasts, but now needs to be formalised following changes to structures along the quayside edge which now impede the route.

Supporters of the Right of Way made two applications to the City Council for an order in 2016 and 2017, but both were rejected. Campaigners then took their fight directly to the government, supported by Mr Morgan, appealing to Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Planning Inspectorate upheld this appeal in February 2018 and directed Portsmouth City Council to modify the definitive City map for the area to add a restricted byway on the route.

But since then the process has stalled, and the Portsmouth South MP has joined with campaigners to renew calls on the City Council to get it sorted.

Campaigner Ken Bailey will grill City representatives on the issue today (19 July) when he raises a question on the issue at full Council.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“It’s long been clear that the Right of Way around the Camber in Old Portsmouth needs to be protected, but the city council has kept people waiting for seven years and counting.

“I have supported dedicated local campaigners as they have engaged with the Council in good faith, but the process has descended into an unnecessary farce of administrivia.

“The city council is clearly dragging its feet, and I am proud to stand with Right of Way campaigners to urge them to get on with the necessary work and ensure this popular route can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Ken Bailey and Anna Koor, local campaigners for the Camber Right of Way, said:

“We are completely mystified as to why city council officials have been unable to progress simple administrative processes and meet legal obligations to move this right of way case forward over the past few years – without any rational explanation. What possible reason could there be for such behaviour?

“We trust that the collective intellectual capability and authority of the Full Council might be brought to bear to resolve the suppression and suffocation of justice and the rights of its citizens.”