Eric Pickles wants to see Pagham beach erosion

SENIOR government minister Eric Pickles intends to visit Pagham.

Mr Pickles, who is in charge of the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, told MPs on February 10 he wanted to see the serious erosion of the beach.

He said in response to Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb during a debate in Parliament: “I am sure Defra ministers will come and visit.

“But I was rather hoping in the not too distant future to come and visit myself because he raises an important matter.

“The amount of shingle and the like that has gone is truly breathtaking.”

Tory Mr Gibb had asked Mr Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, to arrange for one of his ministers to see the situation to secure the funding and approval needed to cut through the Church Norton Spit before peoples’ homes were threatened.

Mr Gibb said after the debate the scouring of the shingle beach had become perilous because of the spit’s growth and the recent storms.

He wanted Mr Pickles to understand the fears of seafront residents and the problems faced by those battling the erosion. It would also be a good chance to enlist his support in securing the permissions needed for work on a site protected by British, European and worldwide environmental laws.

“It is very clear Arun District Council will take whatever steps they need to shore up the shingle on the beach to protect peoples’ homes,” said Mr Gibb.

“What we also need is a long-term solution to the problem.

“I am convinced the answer is to cut a channel through the spit and to open up the mouth of the harbour. This will be expensive but cheaper in the long run than annually restoring shingle to the beach and other remedial measures.”