‘Determination’ pays off on boardwalk gap

S14837H14 Watching work begin, from left Cllr David Simmons, director for communites John Mitchell and Cllr Liza McKinney
S14837H14 Watching work begin, from left Cllr David Simmons, director for communites John Mitchell and Cllr Liza McKinney

THE boardwalk on Shoreham Beach has been finished.

Work to fill the 20m gap began on Tuesday, when contractors moved in to start placing the pieces that will complete the 400m boardwalk.

Adur District Council, which funded the £103,000 path, finally completed negotiations on March 25 to purchase the necessary strip of land from the owners of a bungalow backing on to the beach.

Cllr David Simmons, Adur cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “At the end of the day, it was an amicable settlement. I am very pleased that our efforts have finally paid off.

“I think it underlines the determination of the council to complete this facility and make it fully available for people to use.

“The petitions showed the strength of feeling from residents, with 750 signatures on the first and 1,280 on the second.”

John Mitchell, director for communities on Adur District Council, said the amount paid for the land was confidential but he confirmed it had cost less than the £25,000 set aside.

“We agreed a settlement far less than the cost of a compulsory purchase order,” he added.

“Also, that would have taken more than 12 months. The extra work was marginal on top of that.”

Cllr Simmons explained the cost for putting in this part of the boardwalk was included in the original figure.

“We had the pieces in storage,” he added. “The point is this was the more cost-effective option than a compulsory purchase order.”

Cllr Liza McKinney, from Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association, said the boardwalk had made a great deal of difference.

“It is not just the elderly but the disabled of all age groups who benefit. I think people sometimes don’t realise there are disabled people in all age groups.”

Mum Emily Phillips, who lives in Shoreham town centre, said it also helped with pushchairs.

“I noticed a lot of talk about the boardwalk was about wheelchairs but pushchairs are a large amount of the traffic here,” she explained.

“When I only had one child, I could drag the buggy across the gap but now with two, it is impossible.”

She likes to take her children Sam, three, and Beth, one, to the beach but said it had been difficult in the last two years, because of the bridge closure and the gap in the boardwalk.

“I will be great to be able to do the full circuit again and get on to the beach in summer with them both,” she added.

Joy Daintree, chairman of Friends of Shoreham Beach, said the group was delighted the boardwalk was completed.

“It makes all our hard work organising petitions worthwhile,” she added. “Those people who are dependent on wheels to move about will be able to get on the bach at last.”