Opinion sought to solve kitesurfers row along coastline

A CONSULTATION exercise was ordered by Chichester District Council’s cabinet this week in a move to prevent conflict on the coastline.

Councillors were told problems had arisen from an increase in kitesurfing, and potential conflict with other beach uses which ranged from swimming, fossil hunting and horse-riding to board and sail activities and motorised sports.

A report, presented to the cabinet, said following the introduction of a temporary voluntary zone for kitesurfers, a meeting was held with local residents, parish councillors, local police and kitesurfers.

It was agreed the council would consider alternative locations for the zone, and look into alternative suggestions put forward.

The cabinet heard a number of people and groups were happy with the temporary zone, but there were also a number who were not, including some local residents.

The plan was to formally consult on a number of proposals for the management of foreshore activities to ensure the formal zoning of areas, and operational procedures, were ready for next season.

Coastline between Pagham Harbour and Chichester Harbour is managed by the district council, which leases the foreshore from the Crown Estate.

Under the lease, it is responsible for public safety.

The cabinet report said the council did not have the power under existing byelaws to prohibit kitesurfing.

The temporary zoned area was voluntary, but kitesurfers were encouraged to use it and signs were displayed advising people not to swim in this area while kitesurfing was taking place.

Cllr John Connor, cabinet member for environment and community safety, said a number of alternative locations suggested for a zone lacked vehicular access or suitable parking.

The consultation’s outcome will be reported in February.