As a resident of Adur as well as a regular user of the river for many years, I have been following the Shoreham ‘Slipway’ scenario with great interest.
Shoreham used to have more public slipways and hards than many other maritime towns, facilities considered essential for a town with such a tremendous water heritage and an extremely active port.
Look around at neighbouring riverside towns with such a proud background and all have very successful slipways operating very much for the benefit of the people of the area also bringing in visitors and economic benefits.
However for reasons unknown, perhaps to entice waterside developers, both Adur District Council and WSCC have been guilty, without question, of allowing the slipways to fall into disrepair or taking away and selling off the sensible parking needed for their operation.
Consequently Shoreham has been left with no serviceable public slipway to the detriment of the local people and economy. When an opportunity has arisen to site a new one, perhaps through ignorance of requirements, it has been ignored.
It is interesting to look around and see what a large number of boats are sitting in drives, residents having in the main travelled to Littlehampton to launch and spend money there to the benefit of the Arun area, not Adur.
Over recent years, this failing has been recognised and it must be the responsibility of both Adur District Council and WSCC to provide a replacement slipway. The Adur Sports Council, a former local quango, spent time investigating and came up with proposals, but these were never followed through. Then the voluntary Shoreham Slipways Group worked hard receiving a tremendous amount of public support.
But surely being a public amenity, it is ADC that should be spearheading this as part of the regeneration programme and if not, why not? It would be interesting to see a council informed and positive response as to when and where this public amenity is going to be built to replace all the others. There currently appears to be a distinct impression that many, both on the council and working for it, have no idea what a slipway is and what maritime requirements have to be applied.
One has to ask three questions:
1. Is Shoreham going to be the only port town in the UK not to have its own public slipway?
2. What has the council planned to overcome its apparent inaction?
3. Do the residents of Adur taking part in boating really not count?
T B Smith
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