Collapsing bank danger for boats and swimmers

Jon Adams is angry about collapsing riverbank which is a danger to boats and canoes
Jon Adams is angry about collapsing riverbank which is a danger to boats and canoes

AN ANGRY boatman says collapsing wooden panels on the bank of the River Adur are putting boats and swimmers in danger, and says no one will take responsibility.

John Adams says heavy wooden panels that have been falling into the river at the Ropetackle housing development for a year could cause serious damage to boats and canoes.

He said the planks lie hidden just below the surface, where they could easily rip the motor off a small boat.

“It’s a very fast-flowing tidal river,” said John.

“If you lose an engine you are at the mercy of the river.”

He said the risk to swimmers was potentially even greater.

“Sometimes the Adur Outdoor Activities Centre on the opposite side do a swim up the river,” he said.

“It’s horrific to think what could happen.”

John said the heavy wooden planks, which are around 6ft long and 8in thick, were only held in place by ‘a couple of bolts’ and described the workmanship as ‘shoddy’ and ‘a total botch job’.

He called for Shoreham Port to repair the damage.

“We have to pay a boat licence to the port authority to use the river,” he said.

“If I’m paying them a licence fee, they should look after the safety of the river.

“Can you imagine people dumping a load of planks in the middle of the motorway?

“They would close the road, but because you can’t see this they don’t do anything about it.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen and I’m really livid that no one is taking it seriously.”

Shoreham Port’s director of engineering, Tony Parker, said the owners of buildings on the riverbank were responsible for their upkeep.

He said the Port could ask owners to make repairs when there was a danger to people using the river, but said he did not believe this was the case.

“We do not believe that there is an imminent danger to persons navigating on the river,” he said.

“We would ask anyone who spots a potential danger in the harbour to report it to us so that the necessary action can be taken.”

Port staff asked Ropetackle’s management company, Stuart Radley Associates, to repair loose timbers 2012, which it did before any fell off.

Stuart Radley said the timber facings ‘served a cosmetic rather than structural purpose’.

The firm appointed engineers to inspect the wall, who found some of the metal fixings had corroded and failed.

It is now seeking a contractor to make repairs, and in the meantime has arranged for the loose timbers to be removed for safety.