Cement and aggregates firm Cemex has been given planning permission to build a bigger and safer wharf for its new £30 million dredger.
The wharf, in Shoreham Harbour, will be modernised in the coming months, with the new layout aimed in part at making lorry movements safer.
The £1.8 million makeover will enable the wharf to accommodate a big new dredger, the Cemex Go Innovation.
The 340ft vessel, which was launched a few months ago, can hold more sand and aggregate and unload it more quickly.
Old offices at the site in Basin Road North, Portslade, will be demolished and replaced by a two-storey office and welfare building.
The plans include a new feed conveyor, hopper and storage bays – and Cemex will move its weighbridge and put up a new office by the weighbridge.
The car park and site access layout will also be changed as part of the safety improvements.
Planning permission was granted by Brighton and Hove City Council on Wednesday (November 6).
Conservative councillor Carol Theobald told the planning committee at Hove Town Hall that the current site was ugly and would be improved by the scheme. She said: “It will be a lot safer.”
Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said that the port was an important landing place for marine aggregates.
Conservative councillor Joe Miller said that landing the building materials for concrete at a local wharf meant fewer lorry movements and was good for the local economy.
Green councillor Leo Littman said that it was probably the least contentious planning application to come before the Planning Committee in his six years as a member, adding: “I will be voting for it.”
A report to the committee said: “The applicant has demonstrated that there is a need for the upgrade given the dilapidated condition of existing facilities and the provision of a new dredger to deposit aggregate materials by sea.
“The proposed development is considered acceptable in principle and would ensure the wharf is able to accommodate and receive aggregate from a more modern and efficient dredger.
“As such the development would ensure the economic viability and future security of the wharf and the security of aggregate supply in the longer term to contribute to the economic development of the local and wider region.”
It was unanimously approved by the committee.
Cemex said: “This proposal seeks to make rearrangements to the layout of the existing wharf to make it more modern and efficient, to improve safety and vehicle flow throughout the site and so the site can accommodate receiving aggregate from a new dredger.”
The site was previously known as Esso Wharf and Halls Wharf and incorporates the old Lennards Wharf.
The planning application covers a site that is partly in Brighton and Hove and partly in the Adur district in West Sussex. It was approved by West Sussex County Council in August.