AN end to the boardwalk saga on Shoreham Beach is in sight.
Residents have welcomed the news councillors agreed a compulsory purchase order should be issued.
But before then, negotiations will continue and Adur and Worthing councils’ joint strategic committee unanimously agreed to allow a further four weeks before putting an order in place.
Councillors heard from James Appleton, executive head of planning, on Thursday, February 6, that talks had been held with the landowner.
“We have had a letter from the owner’s solicitor, providing a valuation range,” he said. “It is not quite what the council expected as an independent valuation.”
Up to £25,000 has been set aside to fund the work, which was ‘in the public interest’.
Mr Appleton said in his report: “The completed boardwalk would clearly have social and environmental wellbeing benefits.”
The boardwalk was installed by Adur District Council in 2011, but work had to be halted when it was claimed a short stretch of land was privately owned, leaving a gap between the two sections.
Cllr David Simmons: “This has been going on for a long time. There have been so many false dawns where they are sometimes trying to co-operate.
“I still think we need to play hard-ball and resolve this issue for the people of Adur. At the end of the day, a lot of people are very keen to see it extended.”
Other councillors agreed it was not an option to just leave things as they are.
Cllr Keith Dollemore said: “The council is harming its reputation by doing nothing. They have had long enough and are trying to hold us over the barrel.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Joss Loader, chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association, said it was good news to hear the boardwalk could be completed.
“Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, I am sure most people will be glad the council is trying to secure resolution as the boardwalk issue has dragged on now, for well over two years.
“From a personal perspective, I support the boardwalk wholeheartedly, as it helps to open up a fantastic area of public beach to people with disabilities, plus families with pushchairs.
“We are very lucky on Shoreham Beach to have this unspoiled open space and I believe this should be accessible to all. I also support proposals to extend the boardwalk eastwards, to Shoreham Fort.”