VITAL improvements to Pagham Harbour nature reserve have been backed by residents.
Some 50 people attended the first half of a seven-hour exhibition about the £1m works.
The event was staged by the Environment Agency to explain how it will protect 83 homes for the next 50 years.
Work on the scheme is set to start next month and last for eight weeks. Failure to act will see an increasing risk of flooding.
Gillian Montgomery lives in Swandene some two properties outside the area potentially threatened by flooding.
“Anything that helps the area must be a good thing,” she said. “I realise the wildlife and the holiday season makes life more difficult to do any work.
“This scheme does involve me but it is the situation with the beach which is so dramatic. I feel real concern for the people who are living there.”
She was among those at the exhibition at Pagham Village Hall on Monday. The harbour scheme will initially involve building a clay core embankment along a kilometre of the harbour bank to raise its level by about 0.1-0.9m.
This work will take place from the causeway which separates Pagham Lagoon from the sea south around Church Farm Holiday Village and its golf course and heading back towards Church Lane.
The existing bank was mildly overtopped a couple of times during last winter’s storms. Any serious breaches would pour through the holiday village and go north along Pagham Road and east along Sea Lane.
Nick Gray, the Environment Agency’s project manager, said: “People have been really positive. They are really interested in what we are doing and glad that something is being done,” he said.
Tenders for the work were due to be returned in mid-August ready for a start on site in the middle of September.
Footpaths along the embankment will be closed while the contractors are on site.
Also on show were seven options for the second phase of work on the causeway.
Mr Gray said this should start in September, 2015, after more consultation.
The causeway, built by the Victorians, is high enough to stop the waves but needs strengthening.
The Pagham Beach erosion is a separate coast defence matter.