A NEW public slipway in Shoreham is a step closer after years of campaigning by a community group.
The Shoreham Slipways Group (SSG) has been granted planning permission for a new slipway at Adur Recreation Ground, providing a much-needed facility for leisure boat users.
The number of public slipways in Shoreham has severely diminished, with a current one at Ropetackle deemed unsuitable because of a lack of trailer parking.
Brendan Whelan, chairman of the Shoreham Slipways Group, said: “Over many decades most launching places in Shoreham have been either closed or rendered useless and it is hoped that once again there will be a public facility which not only serves leisure boat users but also boosts the local economy by drawing more people to Shoreham’s wonderful tidal estuary.”
The group has considered a range of sites in recent years, and gained planning permission for a slipway in Lower Beach Road in 2012, subject finer details being agreed.
But progress stalled, with concerns over the management of parking and potential loss of revenue to nearby businesses.
A feasibility study prepared on behalf of West Sussex County Council later concluded the Adur Recreation Ground site would be more suitable, prompting the slipway group to lodge a new application.
Parking will be better at the chosen site, with plans to extend the recreation ground car park to incorporate 24 trailer bays approved by Adur District Council.
Mr Whelan said: “The next major obstacle is raising the money needed, but it is hoped that some of this will come as compensation payments for the proposed closure of Tarmount Hard, Stow’s Gap and Dolphin Hard.
“Also, it is expected that the construction would be carried out by Environment Agency’s contractor for the Tidal Walls scheme.
“This will save a significant amount of money and keep the disruption to a minimum.”
It is anticipated that a temporary slipway will be constructed during the works, with the group keen that it is adapted for permanent use.
The application, approved by the council’s planning committee, attracted a total of 49 letters of support, with just one against.
“We would like to thank the Herald for helping to publicise the lack of public launching facilities on the Adur and to all those who took the time to support the application,” Mr Whelan said.”
The application was granted on the basis of a number of conditions being met.
One of the conditions requires an area of compensatory habitat to be provided to mitigate against the loss of mud that will be covered by the new slipway.
Discussions will also be held with Natural England to agree the usage of the slipway during the winter months.
And while the group has gained permission for the new facility, Mr Whelan believes their work will not stop there, with the need for a second slipway a long-term target for its members.
He said: “The SSG believes that Shoreham needs at least two functioning public slipways and has discussed possibly including another slipway as part of the changes to the western arm of the harbour.
“However, this is unlikely to happen for many years and is not taking the focus away from the slipway at the recreation ground which offers the best opportunity for Shoreham to regain some of the lost access to the river and the sea.
“The SSG hopes for the continued support for all those who promoted the application and from those who would, ideally, have preferred another location.”