Last month consensus was reached on the medium-term future of the sea defences between Langstone Millpond and Wade Lane. A joint statement has been issued by Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Natural England and the Environment Agency reflecting the collaborative approach:
It is widely acknowledged that residents and visitors care deeply for their local area and amenities. All parties recognise and share in this passion for the Mill Pond, the local environmental habitats, and coastal access between the Mill Pond and Wade Lane. These issues are equally important to us. We are committed to the following 2 priorities in the medium term (25 years).
• Maintenance of the Mill Pond Wall; and
• Maintenance of the coastal path along its current route by construction of a footbridge towards Wade Lane.
All are in agreement that appropriate remedial maintenance works to the Mill Pond wall should be permissible for purposes of preventing a breach, if it is done within the environmental sensitivities and mitigating adverse impacts on the interest features.
It is important to all parties to sustain coastal access along the existing route for the medium term, via the construction of a footbridge.
The Independent Assessment undertaken by RHDHV, published in October 2023, provides all partners with an understanding for the future transition of coastal and terrestrial habitats at this location. Based on a robust evidence base Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Natural England, the Environment Agency, and Chichester Harbour Conservancy, agree on this Statement on Common Ground. This independent report has enabled these consenting organisations to agree a solution.
There is agreement that these priorities are reached in a wider principle of supporting environmental, social and economic adaptation to climate change and coastal squeeze in the medium term. A wider Chichester Harbour Investment and Adaptation Plan is proposed for determining the longer term actions for coastal management.
Chairman of Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Councillor Ann Briggs stated,
“The partners have worked hard to reach a positive solution whereby the sea wall around Langstone Mill Pond will be professionally maintained and the coastal footpath, with its outstanding views across Chichester Harbour National Landscape, will remain in its current position by way of a new footbridge that will benefit local residents and visitors alike.”
What happens next?
Chichester Harbour Conservancy is working to investigate the costs and programme for construction of a footbridge. Havant Borough Council is working to investigate appropriate maintenance work to the wall that will prevent a breach to the Mill Pond. Once this further information is gathered the multi-agency group will set out an implementation plan.