Could Selsey become a new ‘haven’ for fishermen?

TENTATIVE talks have taken place for a possible ‘harbour’ to be constructed at Selsey.

Selsey Bill. Picture by Allan Hutchings
Selsey Bill. Picture by Allan Hutchings

Plans for what has been loosely dubbed ‘Selsey Haven’ came up at a Selsey Town Council meeting last Wednesday (June 3).

Chichester District Council’s economic development team would like to see the town’s fishing industry protected and hoped a regeneration similar to Ventnor Haven on the Isle of Wight could be explored.

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Talks were held in March, with an April visit to Ventnor.

“Selsey Haven will generate economic opportunities for the town, bringing benefits to fishing and recreational boat users while protecting the local area from sea flooding during stormy weather,” said a report circulated at the meeting. “It will build on the traditional small boat fishing industry in Selsey, a core economic activity for many generations of local fishermen and will also provide a focus for tourism on the Manhood Peninsula.”

District councillor John Connor was part of the early talks as a previous cabinet member for Chichester District Council.

He said he believed the officers could now be advising the new cabinet that it could operate the site for the fishing fleet and possibly as emergency anchorage.

However, he said there remained ‘serious concerns’ about how practical the scheme was because of tidal conditions and the weather.

“It would be lovely if we could do it and cost isn’t out of reach, but I suspect that it’s not going to be a goer,” he said.

The proposed site for Selsey Haven would be in the vicinity of East Beach Green, although the precise location is still subject to discussion.

The government’s department of communities and local government announced funding recently of £10,000 to establish coastal community teams.

The district council stressed the Selsey scheme was ‘just an idea’ at the moment, also releasing a statement saying it was supporting a bid by the Manhood Peninsula Partnership which would be submitting the grant application to establish the coastal communities team.

“This scheme aims to encourage greater local partnership working in coastal areas and support the development of local solutions to economic issues facing coastal communities. If the bid is successful, a coastal communities team will be set up to look at ideas for a range of projects,” said a spokeswoman.

If the bid is successful, Selsey Town Council would be part of the team. The bid deadline is June 30.