The owners of a Shoreham Beach slipway which was shut two years ago while flood defence work took place have kept it closed to the public due to concerns over its safety.
The Emerald Quay Freeholders Group, which owns the land and is responsible for the slipway, has refused to take back control of it – though the Environment Agency has said it is safe.
Mark Sharp, director and chairman of the Emerald Quay Freeholders Group, said the Environment Agency had told them the tidal wall flood defence work would involve replacing the slipway with a ‘like for like’ model.
But Mr Sharp said several ‘technical adjustments’ were made – such as increasing the gradient of the slipway which had made it ‘very steep’.
The new concrete surface provided ‘little or no grip’ for vehicles pulling trailers, he said, while a new speed bump limited the type of vessel that can use it.
Mr Sharp said of the slipway: “It’s an accident waiting to happen in our opinion.
“Once it’s handed over, we are responsible.”
Going forward, he said he wanted evidence and was planning to request an independent public risk assessment before the slipway was passed over.
“We just need to be satisfied that we are not putting the public at risk,” he said.
An Environment Agency spokesman said assessments of risk and public safety had taken place during the design process and during construction of the slipway.
“We believe the slipway is safe, and we continue to make that point to the freeholders,” the spokesman said.
“No-one raised concerns to the contrary during a two-year consultation period, in which we held no fewer than 11 public exhibitions, submitting a full planning application.
“The decision to close the slipway in September was solely a matter for the freeholders.
“The ramp’s new designs is not unusual.
“No concerns about these alterations were raised with us during consultation, either.
“Improved flood defence will reduce the risk to nearly 2,500 residential and commercial properties in the Shoreham and Lancing area.”
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