Fossil-hunters slam Bracklesham kite-surfing zone

A campaign group slamming the kite-surfing zone at Bracklesham beach as a ‘disaster’ for fossil-hunters has been launched online.

The group, which has been kicked off on social networking site Facebook, argues the zone should be moved to the west of the Bracklesham beach car park and is ‘wrong on every level’.

The campaign took shape in the wake of a feud between local residents and kite-surfers about the safety and management of the zone.

Chichester District Council, which manages the beach, is launching a public consultation on the matter this week.

The ‘Save Bracklesham to Selsey Beach for ALL’ group states online: “This is more of a disaster for amateur and professional geologists and palaeontologists, as the stretch of beach from Bracklesham to Selsey is one of the few easily-accessible and very productive Eocene (fossil) sites.”

The designated fossil area on the beach is between the car park and the outcrop of E3, the Cardita Bed Reef, within sight of the foreshore office in the car park.

The online group believes the fossil area is already under threat from proposed sea-defence work.

The group added: “Fossil-hunting on the east stretch is a rewarding and interesting pastime for all ages.

“Bracklesham is the top site for safety and find frequency in the whole of Sussex, according to UK Fossils.

“It would be like taking Lyme Regis away from Dorset and saying no-one but surfers can use this beach – it is wrong on every level.

“The kite-surfers have a right to do their sport, but should be allocated (the area) west of the Bracklesham car park, thus providing a beach resource for all.

“Swift action needs to be taken now and I urge all to sign up to this campaign and get on to the council website and lodge your concerns.”

A Chichester District Council spokesman said: “We do not want to stop anyone from using the beach.

“We have seen an increase in numbers taking part in kite-surfing over the last two years so we are looking at how we manage the beach.

“The results of the consultation will be reported back to the council’s cabinet in February 2012. Our aim is always to make sure as many users as possible can enjoy the beach.”

To join the online campaign group, search ‘Save Bracklesham to Selsey Beach for ALL’ on Facebook.