26 June 2013

The sun shone over the Port this morning for the official re-opening of Southwick Beach.  Shoreham Port and Carats Café Bar worked together to host the re-opening ceremony after beach defence improvements were completed by Shoreham Port. The crowd cheered as Cllr Mike Mendoza, Chairman of Adur District Council, cut the ribbon. The team at Shoreham Port worked with outside contractors to construct two new timber groynes and installed new concrete steps enabling access from the promenade outside of Carats Café down onto the beach.

The new groynes and steps, built at a cost of £200,000, are just one step in a long-term programme of investment in the sea defences by the Port, in response to the local effects of the global issues of sea level rise and increased storminess. £350,000 will be spent this year on the sea defences and an increasing level of investment each year is expected for the foreseeable future.

The work programme is vitally important in maintaining the sea defences for the Port and the city and also enhances the seafront environment for beach visitors. The new groynes and access steps create three clearly defined sections of the beach for bathing, making this area comfortable and welcoming to visitors.

Keeping a beach along the seafront is the most sustainable way to protect the Port, homes and businesses as a beach breaks up the power of storm waves before they can cause damage to property behind it. But that’s not as simple as it sounds! Tony Parker, Director of Engineering commented “The shingle on the beach is constantly moved eastwards along the seafront by storm waves and we need to slow down the long-shore movement of the shingle so that beach levels don’t drop too quickly. To do this, we build timber groynes across the beach, if we didn’t the beach would soon disappear completely”. 

Tony continued “Our two-mile long beach and the groynes and seawalls need on-going maintenance as they are constantly battered by the storm waves. The two new groynes replace worn-out groynes built in the 1950s. The new concrete steps also have an important function in helping to bolster the seawall behind the beach as well as greatly improving public access to the beach”.

The ceremony also celebrated the continued recommended status for the bathing waters at Southwick Beach. It is the 4th year in a row that the beach has been awarded the gold standard and is currently the only EU bathing waters in Adur & Worthing to hold this status.

Chris and Wendy Kraszewski, owners of Carats Café Bar said "We're delighted at the finished result with the new steps providing much improved access to Southwick Beach and the new groynes helping to define the beach bathing areas, as well as providing better protection for the cafe and promenade too. Combined with the gold standard bathing waters once again for 2013, it really does make for a great start to the summer season at Southwick Beach."