Plans are underway to extend a popular boardwalk on Shoreham Beach in a move that will make a ‘massive difference’ for beach users.
Adur District Council plans to extend the boardwalk from The Burrells roundabout to Shoreham Fort.
A tender has been issued for companies to bid to carry out the work.
The council hopes that contracts will be signed by the end of March and that work will start on the site in May.
Councillor Joss Loader said it was ‘great news’.
“The boardwalk is one of Adur District Council’s best community projects in recent years as it opens up the beach to everyone who finds walking on shingle difficult,” she said.
“It is great to see so many people using the existing walkways, including those in wheelchairs and those relying on sticks or mobility scooters to get around.”
Jacky Woolcock, chairman of the Friends of Shoreham Beach, said the extension would benefit wildlife on the beach as well as people with buggies or elderly people.
She said of the existing boardwalk, which was first installed in 2011: “It’s just been a massive success.
“It’s made such a difference, it’s so lovely seeing people walking along it.”
“We are pleased that the council is doing this.”
Gary Baines of Shoreham Fort said he believed the extension would encourage more visitors at the fort.
He said: “We will get more people to the fort I’m sure, less abled people and people with push chairs.
“It will hopefully make a massive difference.”
He hoped this would, in turn, help prevent heritage crime at the fort by making the area busier.
Once complete, the boardwalk will be about one mile in length.
The extension, which will run on land owned by the council, will follow the existing established footpath on the shingle beach between the patches of vegetation before linking up with the West Sussex County Council-owned footpath at Forthaven.
Councillor Emma Evans, executive member for environment at the council, said: “The Shoreham Beach boardwalk has been a real hit with residents and visitors which is why I’m delighted to see work on extending it is underway.
“By using modern materials sympathetic to the area’s conservation status, the boardwalk allows the beach and its amazing natural vistas to be enjoyed by all.
“I hope it will also encourage more people to discover the delights of Shoreham Fort which is a hidden historic gem at the entrance of the harbour.”
Councillor David Simmons, executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “The beach is one of our area’s greatest assets but previously it was nearly impossible for anyone living with a mobility issue to get across the stones to watch the sunset and waves breaking.
“That’s why I’ve pushed for the boardwalk to be installed.
“It really does make a massive difference to those with limited mobility or with pushchairs.”
The extension work will take place under permitted development rights, which means planning permission is not needed, the council confirmed.
Letters have been sent to residents of nearby properties in Old Fort Road informing of the proposed route, a spokesman added.