Urgent work for Pagham’s beach due to be backed

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APPROVAL is set to be given for further work to protect Pagham’s beach from erosion.

Arun District Council members are due to agree at a re-arranged meeting the next steps in the project should be carried out urgently.

The decision was set to have been taken by the council’s overview select committee on Tuesday (March 19). But was postponed because an asbestos alert closed the council’s offices. The committee was due to have approved an environmental impact assessment into the preferred option to protect the beach.

Brian Holland, the council’s engineering services manager, will use the approval, when it is given, to hire a consultant for the latest study as soon as possible.

The committee’s members have also been recommended to agree interim minor work on the foreshore can take place without the need for further formal approval.

A report to the committee by Arun principal coastal engineer Roger Spencer said a rock or timber revetment along the western end of West Front Road frontage was the preferred long-term solution to the beach erosion.

“The structure will take several months to be designed, approved and procured,” he said.

“To reduce the risk to properties in that area in the meantime, it is proposed to undertake further minor recycling operations as necessary.

“The proposed rock/timber revetment will cost in the region of £500,000, the first of which will be to undertake an environmental impact assessment, which will cost in the order of £50,000.

“All three elements of the work – continuing minor recycling, production of the assessment and the main works – should be eligible for grant aid,” he said.

But he warned residents would be expected to pay towards the final bill. “However, the main scheme will require partnership funding,” he stated.

“Accordingly, discussions are being held with the Environment Agency regarding the level of grant and, internally at Arun, to assess what district level contribution might be available.

“Given the level of EA grant and a tentative figure from Arun, further contributions will be necessary from the community.

“Discussions are ongoing to see if the total scheme estimated cost can be achieved.”

He briefly explained about the creation of the Church Norton shingle spit at the Pagham Harbour entrance and the resultant erosion problems which had been experienced along the frontage there.

The spit’s effect was worsened by high tides and storms last October which washed away 6.5m of the width of the beach crest.

A thousand cubic metres of shingle was sprayed on to the beach at a cost of £6,000. Most of this disappeared two months later in further storms. This took the width close to the point at which action was necessary to protect beachfront properties.