Clearing up misunderstandings

I refer to your article (January 10) in respect of the situation prevailing along part of the Pagham beach frontage.

I feel perhaps some misunderstanding exists of the community scheme which has been promoted by the parish council in support of the local residents’ associations.

Our proposal seeks to reposition the harbour entrance much nearer to its pre-2004 locations.

Since that date, the Church Norton Spit has accumulated shingle at such a rate it has extended some 900 metres eastward and has deflected the harbour entrance so that it runs parallel to the beach like a powerful river.

The gradual migration shoreward of the spit has caused a severe focus of erosion at West Front Road.

More than 50 per cent of the beach along the whole Pagham frontage has been swept away since the shingle spit began to alter the currents which used to dominate this coastal area.

Coastal engineers and the Environment Agency tell us there is sufficient shingle trapped by the spit for longshore drift to naturally bring ashore to replace erosion losses and to last for well in excess of 20 years.

If we gain consent to use our own funds to supplement coastal defence works, we propose to use the shingle gained from digging our new channel to block the existing one, thus forcing the water along the new excavation.

The Environment Agency ‘conceptual model’ indicates that such a new channel should be self-scouring and therefore unlikely to ‘silt up’ as your Environment Agency spokesman claimed.

Natural England state they would not accept ‘manmade’ or ‘unnatural structures’ near the harbour mouth and that any ‘works’ would need to be as natural in aspect as possible.

This means we could not constrain the new channel from ‘wandering’.

The proposed works would therefore be significantly less expensive than that quoted by residents’ chairman David Huntley.

We have a pledge to provide up to £20k for at least two years subsequent to completion, in order to revisit and correct any ‘channel drift’.

The local nature reserve warden reported little tern nests swept away by bad weather and hence the spit no longer a safe breeding site.

We propose to use excavated shingle to rebuild the depleted tern islands inside the harbour, where they enjoy protection from storm and wave action.

Our community scheme carries the endorsement of the Localism Act as part of our neighbourhood plan for which the Department for Communities and Local Government has provided a grant of £20k for us to complete.

We shall need to supplement our existing funds, but we have significant capital in hand and are employing top engineer consultants.

Rad Radmall (Cllr)

Chairman

Pagham Parish Council