Arun District Council is set to put out a ‘call for evidence’ as it works on a solution to help all residents and visitors, and especially those with disabilities, to access and enjoy the town’s beach.
A beach access working party has been set up by the council and had its first meeting on May 9.
Councillor Amanda Worne (LDem, Yapton) chairs the working party and said the meeting was ‘very productive and very successful’.
She is a wheelchair user herself and said she had only been on the beach ‘twice in six years’ – something she called ‘a really big hardship’.
The working party was set up after councillors dismissed all eight proposals on the table, such as ramps and lifts, to help those with disabilities get down to the shingle and water line.
They agreed the ideas were either too expensive, failed to make the beach fully accessible, or could have implications for sea defences.
The working party has no decision making power but it can take recommendations to the council’s Environment Committee.
Now it hopes to hear from the public who will be invited to give either written feedback and ideas or to speak at the next meeting in July.
However, chair of the Environment Committee David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) was was keen to ‘manage expectations’.
He said: “There is this massive will to make something happen that is really really special.
“We might not be able to do exactly that but I’m convinced we’ll be able to make something happen to make it better for everybody to be able to access the beach.”
The three solutions presented to councillors in September last year included buggies and matting, permanent decking, or a machine which would ferry passengers to the shoreline. While all three options were dismissed, councillors agreed to set up the working party.
More information is set to be shared to the Arun District Council website and social media pages and people are being encouraged to contact the council before coming to the working party meeting.