Homes remain at risk from sea

HOMES are again being threatened by a severely eroded beach.

Pagham Parish Council chairman Ray Radmall said the properties were again at risk from the disappearing foreshore along West Front Road.

“Some 120m-130m of that beach has been worn away. I walked along it this afternoon and the beach is down below emergency levels again.

“There is about 8.5m left of beach against the emergency level of 10m,” he told Aldwick Parish Council on January 26.

“It’s no good trying to keep patching it up, no matter the good intent and the amount of money thrown at it, the sea is unforgiving.”

Cllr Radmall asked the members of the neighbouring council for a letter of support to boost his council’s battle for a more permanent solution to the situation.

The Aldwick councillors unanimously agreed to the backing in principle. They will formally vote on the letter when its contents have been prepared.

Aldwick’s chairman, Tony Poland, said they were happy to give the support.

It is intended the letter will be passed on to the environment secretary Elizabeth Truss when Pagham Parish Council asks her to enable its preferred work to take place on a seafront heavily protected by environmental laws.

Cllr Radmall outlined to the Aldwick meeting the problem of the eroding beach. This has been caused by a shift in the mouth of Pagham Harbour which has led to the continuing growth of the Church Norton Spit.

Its presence is causing the tides flowing in and out of the harbour to run in parallel to the beach and is forcing them on to the shore at a high speed.

The action is scouring the beach of pebbles and stopping replacements being brought ashore by the waves.

The spit is now more than 1km long, said Cllr Radmall.

He said it had caused the beach’s destruction in the past three years and put 15 homes at risk.

“We will be lucky to struggle through this winter,” he said, “and we will have to look seriously at how we will survive next winter.”

He said his parish council’s consultants were meeting Arun District Council’s officers on Tuesday to begin talks about works to cut a channel through the spit which was seen as the best solution to the problem.

He was hopeful the discussions would be productive. “I’m quite pleased with the way things are going.

“I was very despondent we were going to lose a large part of Pagham. I think we are now beginning to turn the corner with the works our consultants are doing,” he said.

He outlined the parish council’s spending of some £250,000 on the project.

District councillor Phil Hitchins (C, Aldwick W) said: “Every district council member supports Pagham. We have spent £1m on the beach.

“But we know we are fighting nature which is almost impossible to do.”