Initial feasibility work on the Selsey Haven Project began in 2015 to look at the possibility of building a small harbour at East Beach, to provide protection for the town's vital fishing industry and improve flood defences.

The harbour could also boost economic opportunities in the town by enhancing the visitor economy and providing space for new businesses.

A partnership of Chichester District Council, Selsey Town Council and the Selsey Fishermen's Association is now investing a further £50,000 to complete the next round of more detailed technical work.

Selsey Town Council decided to increase its contribution to £24,000 along with the £1,000 already pledged by the Selsey Fisherman's Association.

Chichester District Council agreed at Cabinet on Tuesday, to commit £25,000 in match funding to ensure the project moves forward.

The next stage of work will involve completing a technical and financial report which will include possible operational models and a five-year business case. An economic study will also be produced which will assess the wider benefits of a haven to the whole town. 

Once this work has been carried out, the partnership will be in a position to decide on the long term viability of a harbour and plan the next steps. It is hoped that the work on this stage will be completed by the end of 2017.

If the project progresses further, then a variety of other funding opportunities would be sought including lottery funding.

Councillor Carol Purnell, Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing Services at Chichester District Council, says: "A harbour at East Beach would help improve flood protection in the area as well as having the potential to bring huge economic benefits.

"We know that there is a lot of support in the community for the Selsey Haven and the partnership is working very hard to progress this. This project is still very much in the early stages and there is a long way to go, but we will keep people informed as the project progresses."

Becky White, Selsey Town Clerk, says: "The community of Selsey has been pressing for improved infrastructure to support the fishing and tourist industries in the town for many years, as together they underpin much of the local economy. We are delighted that with the commitment of money from Chichester District Council this local-led partnership is now in a position to move things on to the next stage in what could be a vital development for the long-term growth of our community."

Rob Greenwood, Secretary for the SFA, adds: "The Selsey Fisherman's Association is excited to be embarking on next stage of the Selsey Haven project. A haven at Selsey will secure the future of fishing from Selsey as well as unify tourism with the fishing industry to enhance Selsey's unique reputation on the south coast."

Date of release: 14 February 2017

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