Outrageous proposal

May I bring to your readers’ attention to the outrageous proposal by the Army Sailing Association at Thorney Island to provide an industrial-scale steel and composite plastic pontoon 191.5 (627 feet) metres long, five metres (16 feet) wide at the shore end and 15 metres (48 feet) wide at the low water channel with 18 to 36 piles showing up to six metres above the mud flats.

It will be projecting at 90 degrees to the shore.

As well as the piles, the pontoon, as a floating structure, will be visible at all states of the tide.

The conservancy may well require navigation lights at the channel end and the applicant may light the rest for evening use.

The proposed pontoon would not be out of place in the military/ industrial Portsmouth Harbour but it is a sacrilege to put it in an unspoilt Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest within a harbour which is supposedly carefully guarded against inappropriate development.

The justification given for the proposed monstrosity is to introduce disabled servicemen, who cannot use existing facilities, to the uplifting benefits of being on the sea.

Highly laudable and no-one would wish to deny them the opportunity.

However, today’s news says the government has announced all disabled service/ ex-service people requiring prosthetic legs will receive the latest bionic version.

The number of individuals is given as 160.

A small but lamentable number, of whom most, with prosthetics, will be able to use facilities used by the fully able-bodied.

Thus we are talking about a very small number indeed who need special facilities.

And how many of these will want to be on the water and how many will want to do so at Thorney rather than from a pontoon in their local harbour or marina?

I am confident, as will be any person who thinks it through, that whatever the intention, the overwhelming majority of the users, and hence beneficiaries, of the proposed pontoon will be able bodied, perhaps using the army’s 20 odd moorings at its end.

May I ask all who wish to comment on this proposal to contact the Marine Management Organisation, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7YH (Reference NE4 7YH)

M White

Exeter Road

Chichester