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April 2 2014

Concerned Seaford resident Anne Marr comments on our earlier Haven News story on Splash Point; with some history and poignant comments about the way forward on the issue.

“Urgent repairs are needed for Splash Point beauty spot on Seaford seafront. What is happening? I am writing to express strong support for the concerns raised by your correspondent Geoff King about the lack of action. Splash Point is not only a wonderful amenity for local people but also attracts tourists and therefore trade to our town.

“In warmer months, the rare colony of kittiwakes, which can be viewed from Splash Point, adds an addition attraction. Despite recent cliff falls, there are still tall cliffs where the kittiwakes can roost, hatch, and rear their young. So long as there is still food for them in the sea, the colony will adapt to changes in the cliff-face.

“Access to Splash Point is vital feature of the area. It is a small but glittering jewel in the crown of East Sussex. Being fairly level, with parking nearby, it is it is an excellent place for Seaford's large elderly population and for the disabled. I am a pensioner with severe arthritis and other health problems. I used to rely on Splash Point as a therapeutic place to walk - a place which helped to prevent or lessen the effect of clinical depression.

“I do appreciate that there has been a huge amount of storm damage around the UK, with many people undergoing the trauma of flooded homes and businesses, who are still trying to recover. But money had been allocated to help with storm damage - surely some of this could be used to restore the environment generally, including Splash Point?

“A few years ago, I was involved in a campaign to get necessary maintenance and safety work done at Splash Point. Finally Lewes District Council did carry out some work - much more minor than what is now needed. LDC, however, said at the time, that they did NOT accept legal responsibility for maintaining the area. The land is in fact owned by the Queen, as is much the coast area round the UK. Her land is administered by Crown Commissioners, who years ago leased Splash Point to a local council which covered our area. Later this council was superseded by Lewes District Council, who took over legal responsibilities. LDC say they are not responsible under the lease. The Crown Commissioners say THEY are not responsible - LDC is! So we have stalemate.

“Has Lewes District Council even informed the Crown Commissioners about the work now needed? If so who did the informing and when? Have the Crown Commissioners sent someone to view the damage? Has Lewes District Council approached the Environment Agency for advice and finance for repairs - since the Environment Agency is the main organisation involved in flood restoration? Has LDC approached anyone else for funding and technical help? Presumably not, as the council does not accept responsibility for Splash Point. Have either LDC or the Crown Commissioners taken any action of any sort? Has East Sussex County Council been approached for help by anyone at all?

“Seaford Town Council is a small organisation which can publicise and bring pressure to bear about Splash Point. I have doubts about whether it is within either the remit or the budget of the town council to do more than negotiate - I may be wrong! Seaford Councillor Sam Adeniji has said that the cost of repairs now needed will run into thousands of pounds and that the solution will not be quick. My final question is: will Splash Point ever be repaired?”

Anne Marr, Seaford

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