High tide gives rise to shingle move worries

Billy's on the Beach at the Bracklesham seafront on Monday. Picture by Murray and Clare Johnstone
Billy's on the Beach at the Bracklesham seafront on Monday. Picture by Murray and Clare Johnstone

CONCERNS have been raised over the council’s plans to move shingle after this week’s high tide.

Pictures of waves crashing up over the sea defences flooded into the Observer on Monday (November 4) after the highest tide of the year.

The high tide at East Wittering. PICTURE BY Di Cutterham

The high tide at East Wittering. PICTURE BY Di Cutterham

But Chichester District Council’s plan to move ten per cent of Bracklesham and East Wittering’s shingle towards West Wittering has been questioned by residents.

Chris Fry, from East Bracklesham Drive, said: “I do hope the CDC isn’t short-sighted by robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“No-one knows what the Medmerry scheme will bring so any new stone to increase protection along the beach should be either brought in or dredged up from further along at low tide.”

Murray and Clare Johnstone run the new cafe Billy’s on the Beach (pictured), and said they were worried about the plans.

“It is the quantity of shingle they are going to take away that concerns us,” said Mr Johnstone.

“No matter what the council says, nobody knows exactly what is going to happen when they take the shingle away.”

Gordon and Johanna Branston live on the Bracklesham seafront, and said: “It is hard to imagine that any lowering of the sea defence shingle would do anything other than exacerbate the risk of flooding and structural damage to properties.”

The council’s plan is to move the shingle up towards Shore Road and Jolliffe Road, as the sea defences there are at risk of erosion.

At a public consultation last month, council officer David Lowsley said there was more than enough shingle to protect the defences all the way along the Bracklesham and Witterings coastline.

In response to the concerns, a council spokeswoman said: “Works to recycle the excess shingle at Bracklesham and East Wittering won’t have any negative impact on the current situation. In fact, it could actually make a slight improvement.

“Currently there is a single slope that the waves can run up. Having a wider, lower beach crest, resulting in a difference in level of about 18 inches between the top of the seawall and the beach, means that wave run-up will be reduced and this will reduce the amount of water that can clear the defences.”