A THOUSAND tons of rocks are set to bolster Pagham’s beach for the winter storms.
The £100,000-worth of protection should arrive next month.
Arun District Council’s engineering services manager Roger Spencer said: “We should get that rock in July and move the shingle around to at least get ready for next winter.”
He said behind the scenes work to investigate the popular option of cutting through the Church Norton Spit, to stop it forcing tides going in and out of Pagham Harbour against the beach, was also going on.
Arun was supporting Pagham Parish Council and MP Nick Gibb as the initial work was underway.
But Mr Spencer warned the cost of a channel 80m wide and 160m long through the spit would not be met by the government or council.
Dredging the channel would cost £1m, he told Arun District Council’s overview select committee last week. A further £30-50,000 a year would be needed to maintain it. There was also the need to overcome the strict environmental constraints on the site, he said.
The spit had reached 900m long, compared to 200m seven years ago, but he did not know how long it would reach.
“It is likely as it goes eastwards it will thin and cannablise itself in the middle and present an opportunity for a breach at that point.”
Cllr Phil Hitchins (C, Aldwick W) warned drastic action was needed in Pagham and public opinion to cut through the spit should be heeded.
“Pagham is in dire straits. Unless we do something, Pagham will be washed away,” he said. “I don’t think we are doing enough there.”
“I listen to the fishermen down there and, every day, the people say the spit has got bigger.
“I don’t know where we find the money from but the only way to save Pagham is to cut through the spit because that’s what people who have lived there for 20, 30, 40 years want. They are the people who look at it every day.”
Cllr Roger Nash (L, Pevensey) said: “I fully support the long-term solution to cut through the spit if it is financially and technically feasible.”
The committee agreed the programme for revenue works for 2014/15 put forward by Mr Spencer.
This comes to £104,000 for repairs to damage caused by the severe storms of last winter.
Three storms occurred after each other to subject the foreshore to a constant battering.
n Other areas to benefit from work are Elmer Sands, Felpham, Bognor Regis and Aldwick.
The repairs along the Elmer and Felpham frontages will see worn and missing planks to groynes and breastwork replaced and concrete sea walls repaired. A timber rear floodwall will also be repaired.
In Aldwick, substantial work is needed to a groyne. Some concrete repairs and shingle regrading is required for Bognor’s seafront.