COMMUNITY leaders are putting their foot down against proposals for a new footpath alongside a main road.

Members of Flint Town Council have voiced their fury at a letter received from Carl Longland, Flintshire’s director of environment, indicating the short-term option for the Oakenholt section of the All-Wales Coastal Path is to follow the line of the A548 Coast Road.

Mr Longland revealed the proposal is due to issues with timescale, as the path needs to be completed by 2012, and concerns from the Royal Society of Protection of Birds (RSPB) which owns a section of the marshes where councillors plan the path to run.

Cllr Ian Roberts described the Coast Road proposals as “absolutely astonishing.”

He said: “To say I am disappointed with the contents of this letter would be an absolute understatement.”

Cllr Roberts was equally opposed to mention by Mr Longland that the Dee Coastal Path cycle scheme may also have to go along Coast Road if there are issues with securing funding.

He added: “The cycle route runs through lovely scenery and then suddenly they will be on the A548. It really is madness.”

Cllr John Hughes said the Coast Road proposal was a “recipe for chaos” due to the width of the pavements and amount of traffic using the roads.

He said: “The solution needed is common sense. As the name suggests it should be a coastal walk and not an inland walk.”

Members of the council voted in favour of a proposal by Cllr Roberts that Mr Longland, Flintshire’s executive member for environment Cllr Tony Sharps, and representatives of the RSPB, be invited to the town council to discuss the matter at a future meeting.

In his letter to Flint town clerk Nigel Jones, Mr Longland said they have been looking at a common route for the coastal path over the marshes and a planning assessment is being carried out by the council’s ecologist.

He added: “If the assessment concludes that there are insurmountable environmental reasons for continuing to promote the route across the marshes, then the landowners will be approached to obtain their agreement for this.

“If this approach is unsuccessful, a high level meeting will be sought between the county council and the Assembly Government.

“In view of the timescale of completion by 2012 and issues with RSPB, the All Wales Coastal Path is proposed, in the short term, to follow the line of the A548 Coast Road.

“However, it is hoped in the longer term that a more attractive alternative could be provided along the coast, as described above, in the longer term.”

The All Wales Coastal Path is a five-year project implemented by Flintshire’s Countryside Services, with Welsh Assembly Government funding administered by the Countryside Council for Wales.