Alarm at disappearing beach in Pagham

Ray Radmal at the Pagham sea defences exposed by the winds and high tides.''Picture by Louise Adams C140019-5 Bog Jan8 Beach
Ray Radmal at the Pagham sea defences exposed by the winds and high tides.''Picture by Louise Adams C140019-5 Bog Jan8 Beach
Share this article

BEACHES along Pagham are disappearing at an alarming rate, says the commodore of its yacht club.

Chris Page said: “Ever since the decision was made not to maintain the harbour entrance and ‘see what happens’, the problems have accelerated all along the beach.

“The latest expensive fiasco - the rock revetment - though offering some protection to the immediate properties is already causing even more substantial problems all along the beach.

“Had some of this wasted money been used to cut through the Church Norton Spit, and close the flow along the beach, these properties would have regained their beach.”

This would provide protection and the replenishment of the beach along East and West Front roads, he said.

“As it is, these beaches are disappearing at an alarming rate.

“My personal concern is the Pagham Yacht Club, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and has lost a further seven metres of beach over the past two weeks and also lost its boat recovery winches.

“The members of this club are a resilient lot and will find a way over these problems,” said Mr Page, “though I and most of the long term residents of Pagham are convinced that cutting through the spit, shutting off the flow along the beach and maintaining this, would re-establish these beaches over a fairly short time.”

The rock revetment in front of some properties on West Front Road was finished about a month ago at a cost of £550,000.

The work was managed by Arun District Council with contributions from a range of sources such as the Environment Agency.

A council spokesman said its contractors had been on the beach since the weekend.

Monday, January 6, had seen more shingle placed on the foreshore. This was being followed by work to repair the damage to the 120m-long revetment.

“The rock revetment at Pagham beach has suffered minor damage - movement of some rocks and a small area of beach to the west of the revetment has experienced localised erosion.

“However, the revetment which was completed in December 2013, performed as expected and minimised the extent of the erosion to the frontage it was intended to protect.

“Had this defence not been in place, the prolonged period of bad weather and high seas would have resulted in much more extensive erosion”.

“Arun District Council will consult with the Environment Agency and English Nature with regard to possible options for any future works that may be required and assess sources of funding.”

An area of unstable area of beach has been fenced off to ensure the safety of the public.

But David Huntley, the chairman of Pagham Beach Residents’ Association, said: “The revetment is not working properly in the corner by the breakwater. Erosion is occurring beyond the revetment right up to the posts signifying the start of the nature reserve.”