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February 10 2014.

Bob Brown writes:

As readers of Haven News will know, I have been monitoring the state of Seaford Beach for some years to see how it is being maintained by the Environment Agency, both as a flooding defence and as an amenity for the public.

I have to say that yesterday afternoon I was shocked to find that every trace of the usual banks of shingle East of the Martello Tower museum was gone. Instead there was a sandy bank of about 30 degrees, steepening to a ledge of a few yards, in front of the beach-huts. There is no sign at the outfall of any of the usual accumulation of shingle, which in the past, the Environment Agency has been able to deploy back in the Springtime to defend the promenade opposite Dane Road and other vulnerable places opposite property along the promenade.

So bad has been the loss of material that at two points the former wooden groynes, which were buried under feet of shingle in 1987, are now again clearly visible. The Martello Tower itself is now surrounded by a thin margin of shingle. At Splash Point a large portion of the concrete promenade has fallen onto the beach, leaving the chalk cliffs behind exposed to tidal erosion. A substantial fall of the cliff has destroyed a large area of the former kittiwake nesting sites, so it will be interesting to see how the birds react when they return to their former roosts to find them gone!

The Environment Agency excavators were both hard at work, (on a Sunday!), shoring up the beach opposite Ringmer Road. In response to the automated calls generated by the EA about flooding last Tuesday, a block of flats in the Causeway has installed a barrier of sandbags. It is obvious that the EA is very concerned about the state of the Beach and no doubt residents who are in the area liable to flooding are as well. But is Seaford Town Council?

I phoned up the Council this morning to find out when the next meeting with the EA about the beach is scheduled. A bright young voice answered with her name, but no mention of the Town Council. I asked to speak to Ben King, who I had requested at the last meeting of the Council's Community Services Committee to provide me with details of the last and next Council meeting with the EA. After a long pause I was told that he was "not available" but I could leave a message. We'll see if, and when, he gets back.

I have requested Norman Baker to seek a meeting with the EA to establish what its present and future plans are for Seaford Beach. The present frantic movements of shingle and sand before every successive storm must be eating a hole in the maintenance budget.

It's time a measured view of the long term maintenance of the Beach and its amenity function was considered.

Bob Brown