This is how Pagham properties are hoped to be prevented from flooding this winter

Plans have been formed to create a temporary alternative outflow channel at Pagham Harbour to try to avoid the risk of flooding to nearby properties and businesses this winter.

Pagham Flood Defence Trust has applied to Arun District Council for planning permission for the channel to help reduce or avoid the risk of flood and erosion at Pagham Beach and Haven Church Farm.

In the documents before planners the trust said it wants to obtain consent to cut Church Norton Spit in autumn 2021.

A previous application was made in 2015 to ‘alleviate the pressure exerted by the harbour outlet channel along the shoreline and to allow a flux of shingle into Pagham beach shoreline to reverse beach erosion’.

A Googe Earth image with lines showing the spit in 2015 compared to now

The latest plan has been ‘refocussed’ to ‘avoid/reduce the risk of a tidal breach into Pagham Lagoon with associated flood risk to properties on Pagham Beach and large parts of Haven Church Farm holiday park and avoid/reduce the risk of coastal erosion leading to property loss at the southern

end of Pagham Beach’.

The report says this is a ‘forced system’ as a consequence of human interventions like the development of properties on Pagham Beach and the development of the holiday park.

“All these have and continue to impact the natural functioning of the beach and harbour system preventing it from reaching its full natural

potential,” it said.

“The present application recognises this situation and proposes an intervention that does not include any new structures but instead uses a

beach management intervention that kick-starts the natural processes of channel switching that was seen to happen completely naturally in 2015/16.”

Since then there had been a breach of Church Norton spit caused by natural processes.

The report said since summer 2018 the outflow channel had been forced into a tighter bend and pushed towards Pagham Spit ‘resulting in significant erosion of the shoreline (Pagham Spit) that led to the breach into the Little Lagoon in summer 2020 and the widespread exposure of the WWII anti-invasion scaffold structure’.

“With rates of erosion and channel migration towards the harbour, lagoon and properties observed since 2020 it is very likely that properties will be at risk from flooding and/or erosion during next winter,” the report said.

“This leaves autumn 2021 as the only available window to carry out the planned intervention without impacting nesting or overwintering birds.”

To see the plans and reports go to the Arun District Council planning portal and use the reference P/93/21/PL.