10 January 2008

Latest information on Seaford Beach proposal.

Hello, latest news about the Seaford beach defence scheme is that a meeting of Seaford Town Council on Thursday 24th January (7pm, Baptist Church, Belgrave road) is to include a discussion on Seaford Beach.
I will post Jim Skinners' "Seaford Beach – the case for change" document as a comment to save space on this page.

More details on the meeting are available from Seaford Town Council on (01323) 894870 or at seafordtowncouncil.gov.uk/meetings.

Jim (H) on behalf of Jim Skinner.

1 comment:

Jimbob said...

Seaford Beach, in particular it’s slow but steady decline as an amenity, is due to be discussed at the next full meeting of Seaford Town Council, Thursday 24th January (7pm, Baptist Church, Belgrave road).

Specifically the council is being requested to back a call for a serious review of the “shingle re-alignment” strategy of the last twenty years. It is suggested this strategy should no longer be readily accepted, unless there are genuine and clear reasons to the contrary.

A submission, “Seaford Beach – the case for change”, has been placed with the council and describes the following facts;

1. Due to its south west aspect, Seaford Bay is confronted with the full might of the sea, there are no natural features to shelter it.

2. Due to the blocking effect of Newhaven West arm, unless an artificial way is found to keep shingle in the bay, Seaford Beach will continuously be lost through both wave action and long shore drift.

3. It is the beach that prevents Seaford from flooding, not the promenade.

4. The Environment Agency, despite one of its slogans being “creating a better place”, currently can only and does treat the beach as a flood defence barrier, not the recreational amenity Seaford and the wider district deserves and surely must have to help under pin it’s economic prosperity in the future.

5. The value of the beach as an amenity is slowly but steadily reducing.

6. The beach now consists of two distinct parts, a top, compacted, unwashed part and a mobile lower part. Each is separated by a steep escarpment which only the fittest can readily negotiate - the elderly and young families in particular are increasingly finding it hard to use.

7. Unless a more permanent and robust sea defence strategy is adopted it will always be necessary for shingle repositioning and replacement to be undertaken, at ever increasing cost.

8. Tide Mills boasts a significant area of “Vegetated Shingle”, an internationally scarce habitat- the current strategy is starting to put this at risk.

9. Because the existing beach structure is still largely sound from a flood defence perspective, any new solution can be planned and implemented over several years, thus spreading the cost.

10. With a de-facto permanent solution, i.e. one with no or at least very low annual maintenance, scarce Environment Agency budget would be freed up for flood defence works for Newhaven, Lewes and Uckfield, and perhaps of more importance locally the Cuckmere Valley.

11. The annual cost of the present strategy is put at “around £150k”, but this excludes the undoubted massive cost of inevitable (and possibly soon) replacement of lost shingle.

12. The economic and environmental price tag of the existing strategy will escalate year by year.

More details on the meeting are available from Seaford Town Council on (01323) 894870 or at seafordtowncouncil.gov.uk/meetings.

This request for review has so far been backed by an 1100 signature petition and Newhaven Town Council, but obviously anybody who has an opinion (either way) on this important local issue will be very welcome to come along to the meeting to put any comments to the council they wish.

There is here a real opportunity to push, not just for a more robust and permanent flood defence for the town, but also for a complete and utter transformation of Seaford’s beach front environment to somewhere near what it used to be- a true all year round amenity for all to enjoy.

Jim Skinner – local resident and Chair of Friends of Tide Mills/Newhaven East Side.