Slipways pressure group granted cash for investigations

Brendan Whelan, left, and Mike Wooldridge indicating the possible slipway site at Silver Sands
Brendan Whelan, left, and Mike Wooldridge indicating the possible slipway site at Silver Sands

A PRESSURE group campaigning for slipways at Shoreham has been awarded thousands of pounds that will enable them to commission a detailed investigation to three possible slipway sites on the River Adur.

The Shoreham Slipways Group (SSG) was awarded £6,250 on Thursday, by the Adur County Local Committee, and it is hoped that if a slipway is built, it will boost tourism in the town. Brendan Whelan, SSG chairman, said: “The group was very pleased to receive the money and would like to thank the councillors for their ongoing support.

“Currently, three possible slipway sites are under consideration and these include an area close to the new footbridge, the recreation ground and Silver Sands.”

Mr Whelan explained that when the Ropetackle Centre was built 12 years ago, a popular slipway was removed with the promise that a replacement would be provided. It never was.

Mr Whelan said the pressure group has been campaigning for about nine years. “Shoreham is a town with a long history of the river being used by people going out to sea, fishing, diving or one of the 1,001 things they do at sea and there’s no facility for people to do it,” he said.

“The support from the council has been amazing – most have been around Shoreham for a long time and they’re fully behind it.

“It won’t just benefit local people who want to launch a boat, it will encourage people who want to come in to the area and return and boost tourism.”

Each site had advantages and disadvantages, for example construction costs, the economic advantage to the town, parking situation and possible environmental impact, said Mr Whelan.

He added: “The study will use a computer model to investigate the geo-hydromorphic effects of the proposed structures – or, in more understandable terms, how the slipways will affect the flow of the river and the silting/erosion. Such a study is vital before any slipway can get the blessing of the Environment Agency.”

The Environment Agency has offered the group use of the data it has gathered for the proposed flood defences.

The data will be entered into the computer model together with the slipway details.

Mr Whelan said: “The results will demonstrate whether a slipway could be constructed at each of these sites without causing disturbance to the river.

“When that information is available, in a couple of months, plans for a slipway at one or more of the possible sites will be taken onto the next stage.”

Janet Mockridge, county councillor for Southwick, who made the proposal to the county local committee, said: “We were very pleased to give this money to the SSG because for a long time we have needed such a facility locally. It will be a tremendous boost to the local economy and that is why we are supporting them.”

She said all the councillors were behind it because the slipway at Ropetackle was “useless”, as it was too steep and there was no parking.