SEAFORD SPLASH POINT – MORE COMMENT
April 4 2014
Dear Haven News: With her customary succinctness, Anne Marr has again hit the nail-on-the-head about the future of the Splash Point promenade.
In 2011, Anne and I jointly-campaigned with others to raise the awareness of the problems surrounding the lack of any acknowledged-owner to the historic length of the promenade. The present structure has elements which were built by the Victorians long before Lewes District Council turned its back on ownership after its creation in 1974.
The publicity given in today's "Sussex Express" to views from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as to the future of the colony as Seaford Head is eerily coincident as a factor that LDC could claim to weigh-up, in any decision whether or not to reopen the promenade beyond the fence. No more kittiwakes, no need to view them. The RSPB has played a part in this controversy before - when I pointed out that in order to use the viewpoint until 2011 to hold their widely-publicised kittiwake-watch weekends, they had sought permission from LDC (which indicated that LDC prima facie took responsibility for the viewpoint) the RSPB promptly decided that despite its vast national volunteer membership, and a considerable paid staff, it could no longer organise these events. This despite the fact that LDC and Seaford Town Council had only just funded vital repairs to the railings and surfacing to ensure the RSPB viewing days could continue.
If repairs are not carried-out in the next few months, there will be increased deterioration to the structure as it stands now and it will not take stormy conditions to further damage the promenade. There is then the danger that any incidents requiring emergency access to that part of the shoreline will be massively impeded by the fencing; in the recent past, emergency services have had to access the (presently) fenced-off area to access the beach on a number of occasions. Since LDC has erected this obstacle, one might wonder whether any delay in rescue at this location might form the basis of a legal claim against the authority.
Rather than leave the position to stagnate, LDC should carry-out an assessment of the cost of repairs and make this available to the public. Then we can judge whether the repairs can be financially justified and investigate ways to meet the cost; possibly in the form of grants for tourism which may be available from the EC.
Bob Brown (Seaford)
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