Breaching a shingle bank and allowing the sea to extend inland is not the most obvious of solutions to a coastal defence problem.
But the scheme at Medmerry – now officially ‘open’ west of Selsey – is a tremendous achievement.
The Environment Agency deserves real praise for finding a long-term solution that will bring safety and reassurance to residents, visitors, and businesses.
The managed realignment of the coast will also create much-needed new and replacement habitats for wildlife that is being squeezed elsewhere on the south coast. The RSPB will be giving nature a new home.
Local people and local groups have played their part. The voices of local communities has been heard loud and clear in the ‘Going Dutch’ workshops that encouraged new ways of thinking, in the influencing of the coastal strategies and plans, and in helping to improve the design of the scheme itself.
I hope all those involved will continue to work together to maximise the benefits for the local and wider wellbeing.
As active, engaged local communities, we can enjoy better access to the coast and countryside by extending the green links around Medmerry – the paths, cycleways and bridleways – across the Manhood peninsula as a whole.
We can better understand and tell the story of Medmerry – its archaeology, its history, its wildlife, its people and its dynamic, changing coast. And we can better expand and create new businesses to provide more jobs for local people in their local area.
Manhood Peninsula Partnership