Slip­way closed due to safety fears

West Sussex Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

The own­ers of a Shore­ham Beach slip­way which was shut two years ago while flood de­fence work took place have kept it closed to the pub­lic due to con­cerns over its safety.

The Emer­ald Quay Free­hold­ers Group, which owns the land and is re­spon­si­ble­forthes­lip­way,has re­fused to take back con­trol of it – though the En­vi­ron­ment Agency has said it is safe.

Mark Sharp, di­rec­tor and chair­man of the Emer­ald Quay Free­hold­ers Group, said the En­vi­ron­ment Agency had told them the tidal wall flood de­fence work would in­volve re­plac­ing the slip­way with a ‘like for like’ model.

But Mr Sharp said sev­eral ‘tech­ni­cal ad­just­ments’ were made – such as in­creas­ing the gra­di­ent of the slip­way which had made it ‘very steep’. The new­con­cretesur­face­pro­vided ‘lit­tle or no grip’ for ve­hi­cles pulling trail­ers, he said, while a new speed bump lim­ited the type of ves­sel that can use it.

Mr Sharp said of the slip­way: “It’s an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen in our opin­ion. Once it’s handed over, we are re­spon­si­ble.”

Go­ing for­ward, he said he wanted ev­i­dence and was plan­ning to re­quest an in­de­pen­dent pub­lic risk as­sess­ment be­fore the slip­way was­passe­dover.“We­just­need to be sat­is­fied that we are not putting the pub­lic at risk,” he said.

An En­vi­ron­ment Agency spokesman­saidassess­mentsof riskand­public­safe­ty­had­taken place­dur­ingthedesi­gn­pro­cess and­dur­ing­con­struc­tionofthe slip­way.

The spokesman said ‘noone raised con­cerns’ about safety or the al­ter­ations to the slip­way dur­ing the two-yearcon­sul­ta­tion pe­riod.

The ramp’s new de­signs were ‘not un­usual’, the spokesman said, adding: “We

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