The Instigator
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14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Riparian landowners should allow the public free access to their property

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,018 times Debate No: 6422
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




First of all, for the purposes of this debate (unless disputed) "riparian landowner" shall mean an individual or organisation that owns property that borders either the sea or a tidal river estuary.

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill will enshrine the right of the British public to have free access to their coastline and, because the Bill has cross-party support, it is almost certain to become law this year. (1)

However, filthy-rich mega-toffs, ultra-orthodox snobs and particularly posh golf clubs that own seaside real estate are up in arms at the thought of "commoners" walking across their private land or beaches. They claim that public access to their waterfront properties represents an invasion of their privacy and could reduce the value of their real estate by up to 20%. (2)

"Tough!" that's what I say to critics of the Bill. "That's right: suffer on, you over-privileged, upper-class toffs! 94% of the population agree that our right to access the coastline is more important than your property rights (3) and there's nothing you can do about it, no matter how rich you are."

The British are an island race and the British people deserve the right to enjoy their coastline. Certainly, the objections of the privileged few must not be allowed to prevail over the rights of the many.

Thank you.



Thank you for this debate, and although at this point there will be two debates between us, I hope to enjoy each one of them. Good Luck!

I agree to your definition and choose not to be abusive.

My first argument is that how can you call the rich people bad and at the same time forget the rest of the people, those who aren't as rich, who own the property individually and want some privacy in their gardens?

Secondly, at present, 70 per cent of the English coast is accessible therefore your argument about the injustice of the status quo is not a pressing problem.

Thirdly, you make it seem as though the people should all be treated with respects and therefore get their birthrights? Correct? Well, if so, then why are you infringing upon the right of the people who own coastal property? As the bill goes, the people won't get compensation for the land they loose therefore the bill is being hypocrite and unjust.

Finally, the birthrights are not ability to go on someone else's land and steal it from them, the right are the ones of freedom of speech, the ability to be treated fairly with justice and equality based on race and gender etc, not as what you define it. Also, because you are infringe on the people who own the property you must also infringe upon the government's property, yet, the bill isn't designed to do that now is it? So all in all the bill is being unjust and we can see that the history of the government that takes people's property without compensation must therefore be disallowed to do again.

Ask your self, is the bill fair? No!
Should the bill be rewritten? perhaps, but the debate at this point must be on whether it is fair or not.

Thank you for the debate and please vote CON.
Debate Round No. 1


Many thanks to my opponent for taking up this debate. If I may, I would like to answer his first two points in one go, as follows:

When I was a boy, there was a beach near where I lived in a place called Sandbanks, which is on the south coast of England. The property there is the most valuable in the world after London, New York and Moscow.

Why is the property there so sought after? Because it is located on a peninsula, so many of the homes there have sea or harbour views.

Real estate in coastal places like Sandbanks rarely come up for sale. However, a three-bedroom house was put on the market recently at �4.5 million ($6.6 million).

You will notice in the photograph that the house overlooks an empty beach. That's because the public aren't allowed on it. There is a small public beach at the top of the peninsula, where I used to play, but it was so crowded in the summer there was often no space to even sit, never mind lie down. This seemed ridiculous to me, even as a small boy, as I could see there were miles of deserted sand beyond the "private beach" signs. Once I went past the signs and started to build a sand castle, but a raging toff came out of his house and chucked me off. How selfish was that? What damage would a sand castle do to his beach? Ridiculous. A farce. The man should be shot.

The fact is, poor people, or even quite well off people, don't live in coastal properties. They are the preserve of tycoons, aristocrats and master criminals - or all three of the aforementioned in the case of Lord Black!

People with that much money should feel morally obliged to share their good fortune with their fellow citizens and allow them to enjoy the Britain's beautiful coastline from the vantage point of their property and, as my opponent pointed out, 70% of landowners already do. It is the nasty, greedy, selfish 30% that will soon be forced to by law.

My opponent's third point was that landowners wouldn't receive compensation. He is right, but why should ordinary taxpayers give handouts to the rich? In any case, the land will still be theirs; it is just that they will now be obliged to allow the public free access to part of it.

In his final point, my opponent used the emotive terms "infringe on" and "steal". These should be ignored. As I have already pointed out, the public will be given the right to roam on coastal land, but not occupy it permanently. There will be no transfer of ownership.

With regard to coastal land owned by the government, I can't think of any, but much is owned by the Queen, who graciously already allows her subjects to enjoy the coastal paths that she owns.

In conclusion, the entire population will be given the right to enjoy their coastline without let or hindrance while the privileged few will be obliged to grant public access to part of their land in order to facilitate that right. I can't see anything "unfair" about that.

Thank you.


anikiforouk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I understand that my opponent's account has been closed so I shall make no further arguments.


anikiforouk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
Thanks Derek!

The lakes and rivers idea is great, but will never happen...there is quite a bit about it in Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome which I recommend, if you haven't already read it.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Sandbanks... mmm nice place.
Slightly out of my price range. ;-(
Good arguments Brian, if the "The Marine and Coastal Access Bill" goes through, the UK will have the same law NZ has always had. Next - lakes and rivers too.

Really, it is a good idea. It makes nearly everyone happier, and the coastal land owners don't go building in risky places (very close to the beach.)
With the whole coastline free, the crowds tend not to be so bad, and as you say (and Jane Austin observed) "These great men are never at home".

Private property on the coastline makes life difficult for sailors too.
All in all a very good idea.

Posted by Russia 8 years ago
anikiforouk agrees and will vote pro
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
How did I know by the title of this debate that it would be Brian Eggleston?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by jjmd280 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
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