RESIDENTS have drawn up their own plans to rebuild the closed zig zag path at Highcliffe.

After Christchurch Borough Council voted not to rebuild the crumbling path near Highcliffe Castle earlier this year, members of the Rothesay Drive Residents Association have devised their own scheme.

Council bosses say the path, which has been closed for safety reasons, is too costly to repair and other options for access to the beach will be explored.

Now, a team including a geologist, civil engineer and construction manager have come up with their own solution on behalf of the campaigners.

A letter sent to all councillors from the representatives of the residents’ group said a specialist ‘design and build’ contractor has also visited the site.

It adds: “Although we are continuing discussions with officers we are aware that they perceive the only possible solution to be that proposed by AECOM (council consultants).

“Categorically, we can say that we do not accept this view.

“The contractor referred to above can, we believe, deliver a viable solution within your agreed budget.

“Moreover, we are well aware that the figure of £1.25m quoted in the officers’ report to community committee on August 9 is untested by competitive tendering and, in any event, the figure of £840,000 that AECOM themselves describe as ‘an early indication of the likely costs of the proposed works’ has had a further sum of £410,000 added to it.”

A notice of motion to rescind the controversial decision is expected to come before a meeting of the full council on October 31.

Lindsay Cass, head of property and engineering at Christchurch council, said the plan is similar to one already dismissed by consultants AECOM.

“We consider that their suggested approach would cause significant damage to a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest and to trees, issues that were of great concern to Highcliffe residents when the proposal to install beach huts to the east of the zig-zag was considered by the council”, he added.

“Depending on the Council decision on October 31, we will prepare a report on alternative options to access the beach in a safe manner.”