VIDEO: Commitment made to Pagham’s beach

A STRONG commitment has been given to protect Pagham from flooding.

Councillors have unanimously agreed to do what they can to save the beach from further erosion.

Arun District Council’s cabinet decided to spend up to another £100,000 on work to put more rock and shingle on the vulnerable shoreline in front of West Front Road.

The short to medium-term beach re-inforcement will be put in place quickly. It will be accompanied by the start of studies to find out if a permanent solution to the problem exists.

The decision was made after the sea has been driven by the continuing ferocious storms since Christmas to eat into a section of the beach crest by ten metres to leave 15 bungalows vulnerable to further erosion.

Council leader Cllr Gillian Brown said: “It’s a very frightening situation. We will definitely continue to show our commitment and to work in partnership with all the agencies.

“Our officers will continue to work hard on everybody’s behalf.”

Cllr Paul Dendle, who heads Arun’s environmental services, said the weather of the past six weeks had been unprecedented.

“This is the most serious challenge to coastal erosion in the Arun district in the past 50 years.

“A lot of people are frightened down there. Their communities and homes are under threat.

“We are going to hang in there. We are not going to just give up on Pagham. Obviously, resources are a critical issue but we will do our very best to mitigate the effects of the erosion. If we had not completed the revetment before Christmas, I believe we would have lost three properties there.”

Fellow cabinet member Cllr Roger Elkins said the scenes of the beach showed how much damage to the beach had been caused by the erosion in the few years since he had been there.

“The beach looks completely different from the times when I went down there,” he said.”

The re-inforcement works will be carried out by the contractor who installed a £500,000 rock revetment just before Christmas.

The firm has been on the beach since carrying out urgent repair work after the 170m-long barrier of 6,800 tons of rock was battered by the strong waves.