FAMILIES can finally enjoy a popular stretch of beach after the demolition of a notorious safety hazard.
Workmen moved in to knock down heavy concrete structures at Ryhope beach in 2009 after locals raised fears about their crumbling condition. There was also concern that youngsters were ignoring danger warnings and the site was also becoming a regular dumping ground for flytippers. The long-term project to remove the slabs at Ryhope Beach Road and Salterfen Lane, part of a run-down coastal pathway, meant restricted access to the popular spot.
But now new concrete steps, which lead down to the beach, and a major clean-up operation have returned the area to its former glory.
Bob Padgett and his seven-year-old grandson Elliott were among those making the most of the beach, exploring low-tide rockpools.
“I remember courting my wife here on this beach, but in recent years it has been too dangerous to attempt to clamber down after the original access was eroded away,” said Bob. “It’s absolutely great to see people coming down onto the beach once more.”
Sunderland Council and Northumbrian Water, which carried out the joint project, said they hoped the development would attract more visitors to the coast.
Stephen Pickering, Deputy Executive Director of City Service at Sunderland Council, said: “Following the demolition of an unsafe structure on Ryhope Beach, Sunderland City Council and Northumbrian Water have worked in partnership to design and install a new stepped ramp, and pedestrian access to the beach has now been restored.
“We would like to thank local residents for their patience whilst this work was carried out.
“It is great to see local people visiting the beach once more.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbrian Water said: “Work is now complete on Northumbrian Water and Sunderland City Council’s five-month project at Ryhope beach.
“An outfall pipe has been replaced and a stepped ramp has been constructed which will allow pedestrian to the beach at this location again.”