Act now to stop flooding, Pagham’s residents demanded at an exhibition.
The parish council and Pagham Residents’ Flood Defence Trust staged their own display at the official event to detail how they want to see the area protected.
Parish council chairman Cllr Ray Radmall said: “It’s prudent to do something now as a precaution rather than wait for a disaster to occur.
“We can’t have Pagham standing on the edge of a precipice. It’s folly to wait until something happens.”
The council and residents’ groups have met with their MP, Nick Gibb, and secured substantial funding pledges from businesses in the area to enable the work to take place after expert studies have proved its effectiveness.
The community’s idea is to cut a channel in the Church Norton spit which has formed off the Pagham Beach estate to enable the harbour mouth to stay open.
This will reinstate the harbour mouth to its approximate position in 2004.
A programme to repair groynes and add new ones will also take place. This will replace the shingle eroded from the beach in the past few years.
They also intend to strengthen the bunds within the harbour to stop flooding occurring from that direction.
West Front Road resident Allen Miller, the recently-formed trust’s chairman, said: “The Environment Agency’s plan just seems to be about shifting shingle around. I don’t believe it’s sustainable.”
Some 100 people attended an exhibition staged by the Environment Agency at Pagham United Reformed Church.
The exhibition was held to explain the results of a detailed assessment by the agency of the rapidly-changing coastline at Pagham Harbour.
It says there are 397 properties at risk in a severe storm from coastal flooding and erosion.
That number will increase to more than 1,500 properties in a century because of rising sea levels.
Gordon Wilson, the agency’s Sussex team leader for flood defences, said: “Our proposals are quite specific. If an event happens, this is what we will do.
“If the rate of erosion gets worse, then we would certainly look at bringing forward some of the proposals.”