THE Environment Agency has entered into formal discussions with Historic England about how to manage public safety and the needs of operational users of Lydney Harbour.

But temporary fencing across the piers is set to remain in place until a permanent solution can be found.

That was the message relayed to stakeholders at a meeting on Friday (November 24), which was setup in response to concerns raised after the piers were fenced off in the summer.

The meeting was attended by councillors, harbour users and others with an interest in the site.

EA, which owns and manages the 200-year-old harbour, updated attendees on restoration and improvement works which have already taken place at the site, as well as plans for future works. 

Those at the meeting were told how the harbour, which was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument by Historic England in 1985, had “fallen into a state of neglect” in recent years and that EA has been carrying out works “to prevent further deterioration”.

Those works include the removal and repair of the outer sea gates, which will be followed by the reinstatement of the historic bypass sluice. 

The temporary gates, which block public access to the piers, were put up for safety reasons while the works take place.

But in August, EA said that a new risk assessment, taking into account increased footfall at the site following the addition of the cafe and other improvements, had identified the piers as a safety risk to the public, and that they could not guarantee they would not be closed off permanently.

The EA says it is now in formal discussions with Historic England on the restoration of the site “and the need to manage public safety as well as taking into account the needs of operational users”.  

An EA spokesperson added: “The temporary fencing will remain in place until a permanent solution to managing public safety in the area of the piers is agreed, designed, and installed.

“It is not possible to say how long this process will take at this time.”

Environment Agency Place Manager for Gloucestershire Martin Quine said: “I’d like to thank everyone who came along to the meeting to listen and give their views.

“It was very productive and hopefully it has helped to clear up any misunderstandings and concerns about our plans for the harbour.  

“We fully appreciate how important Lydney Harbour is to all those who use and visit it.

“This event gave us the opportunity to reassure attendees of our commitment to fostering open communication and collaboration with all those with an interest in the harbour and to continue to improve and maintain it as a safe and enjoyable place for members of the public and operational users.

“There will be further opportunities to engage in future plans for the harbour.”