A £50,000 viability study into creating a Selsey fishermen’s haven was approved by Chichester District Council on Tuesday.
Cabinet members heard Selsey Town Council had agreed to nearly double its contribution to £24,000 to secure a possible business case for the multi-million pound project.
The scheme would build a small harbour and business units at East Beach to encourage tourism and a £1.5million fishing industry.
A resident, who said he had past links to the fishing industry, gave a heartfelt plea to the Cabinet to give the idea a chance.
“We’re not a bucket and spade or kiss me quick holiday venue, we don’t have miles of golden sands or music arcardes or funfairs,” he said.
“Previous attempts to regenerate East Beach have failed becuase they tried to turn it into something it isn’t, and what the haven project offers is a chance to emphasise and build on what is already there.”
He said the beach had great coastal walks, a working commercial fishing beach and swimming, and haven would be ‘just what my community needs’.
He argued that the district council stood more to lose in terms of reputation by not investing in the project, particularly in light of strong support for the project from Selsey Town Council.
A rough figure for future investment was said to be in the region of £8million to £13million.
Councillors noted the business case itself would be used to secure funding if the haven was found to be a viable option.
Cllr Carol Purnell said she was ‘more comfortable’ parting with the council’s £25,000 with an additinal £10,000 from Selsey Town Council, and supported encouraging tourism in Selsey.
She said: “It’s actually surrounded by the sea and countryside and it has to be a destination to go there. We don’t get passing traffic.”
Selsey Fisherman’s Association has agreed to pay £1,000 towards creating the socio-economic model.
The study will also be used to inform flood defence work.
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