A POPULAR footpath has been shut in Southampton because it is too dangerous.

City bosses have suddenly closed the path after it was deemed unsafe for public use.

The route, which connects Horseshoe Bridge to Northam along the boardwalk at Mount Pleasant Industrial Estate, has been shut off for emergency works.

Following unsettled weather and high tides, Southampton City Council decided to close the path for four weeks to fix erosion damage on a section of the path.

Although an advisory diversion route for both pedestrians and cyclists has been put in place, the council said the boardwalk forms part of national cycle route and is a well-used route for both commuting cyclists and local residents.

A counicl spokesperson said: "Due to a section of the path’s surface being undermined by erosion which is not fully evident from above, it is deemed that parts of the footpath are not currently safe for public use.

"Undermining of the footpath is not fully visible from the above ground surface, hence there is a risk to users of the path close to the edge of the River Itchen. The decision to close the footpath has been made on the grounds of protecting public safety.

"We are committed to keeping this popular waterside route open and have teams currently working on a plan to ensure that the route is opened as soon as possible, with appropriate measures in place to ensure that public safety is protected.

"We apologise for any inconvenience that this closure may cause, and thank you for your patience whilst a suitable solution is implemented."

The council also said a more permanent solution to better protect this waterfront route will be worked on.

David Perks, who walks across the boardwalk several times a week, said: "There was no advance warning and it was a surprise to me seeing it closed.

"It's an official cycling route and lots of people use it to get to and from work. It is a pity they don't warn you until you get there, it is rather inconvenient."

Access to the footpath will be closed from Horseshoe Bridge at St Denys, to Mount Pleasant Industrial Estate, Northam with no public access to the Boardwalk or foreshore during this closure.

A diversion route for pedestrians and cyclists has been identified through Empress Road.