Urgent talks to save Pagham

From left: Glenda Biggs, David Huntley and Allen Miller at the civic society meeting SUS-141117-093525001
From left: Glenda Biggs, David Huntley and Allen Miller at the civic society meeting SUS-141117-093525001

URGENT talks are taking place to protect Pagham.

News of the discussions about measures to stop seafront homes being destroyed by the sea this winter has been given to a public meeting.

Pagham Parish Council chairman Ray Radmall said: “High level negotiations are going on with the relevant authorities.

“Pagham is being spoken of at high levels in the corridors of power. There is some hope to do works which have not been permitted so far. The urgency is there to do something this side of Christmas. I’m hopeful we will find big changes by then.”

Cllr Radmall told Bognor Regis Civic Society last Friday he could not say more about the discussions.

The council has most of the £150,000 needed for an environmental impact assessment to enable work to proceed.

If approval is given, he believes it could take place by next August.

“We don’t want to waste another summer,” he said. He was among four Pagham Sea Defence Steering Group members who met government environment secretary Liz Truss last month. Also present were Arun District Council, the Environment Agency and Natural England. MP Nick Gibb was there as well.

Ms Truss can over-ride the six sets of British, European and international environmental laws restricting activity in the sensitive area if it can be shown to be in the public interest.

As reported, homes on West Front Road are under threat from the sea because the growing offshore Church Norton Spit pushes tides on to the beach and scours away the shingle.

David Huntley, chairman of Pagham Beach Residents’ Association, said some of the bungalows were separated from the waves by a ‘totally unacceptable’ 3.5m of shingle.

He gave last Friday’s packed meeting of some 60 people a brief history of the situation and outlined the preferred solution.

“We want the harbour mouth restored to where it was from 1961-2003 by cutting through the spit,” he said.

Arun has been carrying out temporary works, costing a reported £1m, but Mr Huntley said they were inadequate.

He said: “Any shingle placed on the beach gets distributed and dumped on to the spit.”