The Environment Agency has ‘missed an opportunity’ to improve accessibility by not including a permanent ramp at a riverside footpath in Shoreham, a resident has said.
The steps at the corner of Shoreham Airport, which link the footpath at the embankment level with the ground level of the airport, have been demolished and rebuilt as part of the Adur Tidal Walls scheme.
While the work was being carried out, a temporary ramp was put in place – but this was taken away once the new stairs were built.
Clive Andrews, of the campaign group Shoreham-by-Cycle, said not installing a permanent ramp was a ‘missed opportunity’ to ‘maximise accessibility’.
He said: “Parents with young children will have a difficult time, as will people pushing bikes – and worst of all, wheelchair users will be excluded when they could have been accommodated.
“This new layout really limits anyone who’s not great with steps, but wants to walk between the airport, with its popular cafe, and the river.”
He said there was ‘clearly enough space for a ramp’ and said the temporary one had allowed people pushing pushchairs or pushing bikes to move easily between the Adur Recreation Ground and the airport area.
He said: “At the other end of the flood defence project – near the houseboats – really good ramps have been provided, maintaining accessibility for all, so why not here?”
A spokesman from the Environment Agency said: “Work to construct the defence has also seen improvements to many footpaths and other public areas that will benefit residents and visitors as a whole.
“No ramp connected Shoreham Airport directly to the riverside path before we began construction.
“Access to the path is via Adur Recreation Ground to the south, under the viaduct, as it was previously.
“No-one suggested a ramp as an option during our two-year consultation period, in which we held no fewer than 11 public exhibitions, submitting a full planning application.”
The spokesman added that the public right of way was a footpath and the path was not appropriate for cycling.
The tidal walls scheme will help reduce flood-risk to almost 2,500 private and business properties around Shoreham and Lancing.