The BMC have been working hard to solve the access issues at Avon Gorge. We received the following update from Dave Turnbull (BMC CEO):
"I've just called Bristol City Council (BCC) to try to find out exactly what's happening with access to the Suspension Bridge Buttress (SBB). I spoke to the property division - they are in charge of the land around the base of SBB.
Although I'm still not 100% clear about the background to the situation - what I got from the conversation was as follows:
A. A few months ago BCC decided to put up a new fence to stop the public accessing the base of the Suspension Bridge; this was apparently done for 'normal property management reasons' (i.e. because they felt a new fence was needed) - rather than any specific change in Council policy.
B. To the best of the property division's knowledge - the Council's position on access to SBB has not changed. There has never been a formal right of access or a legal access agreement permitting climbing on the Buttress.
C. They mentioned that when the new fence was put up, several people called BCC's offices asking about access to SBB; he said that it was likely they would have been told that the Council's position was that there was no legal right of access to the Buttress. This is probably how the rumour that BCC had banned climbing got started (i.e. new fence + confirmation that there is no legal right of access = ban).
I got the impression from the conversation that it is a case of business as usual as far as climbing on SBB is concerned.
If anyone knows differently please keep the BMC office (me and Guy) informed. The planning department did mention that it was possible (although they were not aware of it) that some other part of BCC may also have an interest in the site.
I suspect its worth keeping the epetition going to help emphasis the importance of SBB to climbers."
Dave Turnbull - BMC