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Council's foreshore service will be changing

Leading councillors at Chichester District Council have agreed that the council's Foreshores Service, should be delivered differently in future.

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Rather than focusing mainly on Bracklesham, in future the service will be spread across all of the council's key beaches and involve inspections all year round, along the nine miles of coastline it is responsible for.

At present a small team of people are employed on a casual basis in the summer, with one permanent member of staff operating the service all year round.

The new service will see the permanent member of staff working alongside other services, including the Community Wardens; Environmental Enforcement Officers; and the council's Contract Services, to inspect and respond to issues across the coastline that the council has responsibility for, and helping to keep beaches safe, clean and tidy.

"Our key equipment, including our tractor, boats and trailers, are all at the end of their life and so this is a good time to review the service and consider how it should look moving forward," says Cllr Jonathan Brown, Cabinet Member for Environmental Strategy at Chichester District Council.

"The service is currently based in just one location. Many of the services it provides are also delivered by other organisations or locations, and we are finding it more and more difficult to recruit on a casual basis over the summer, so it makes sense to make these changes now.

"Our priority is to carry out inspections along the nine miles of foreshore that the council is responsible for, while continuing to respond to any issues and concerns that people have. New equipment will enable the service to access and reach more areas of the foreshore, which will help them target enforcement and problem areas. The service will also be able to better communicate with people about sea safety matters by having a presence across a much wider area and visiting schools and community groups."

"It is important to stress that the Foreshores Service is not, and has never been, a designated rescue service. We want to assure residents and visitors that this will continue to be delivered by HM Coastguard and the RNLI Search and Rescue Service."

Inspections carried out by the service aim to identify potential hazards on the foreshore. In the past, this has sometimes involved the use of boat patrols. Following a review of the service, it has been identified that these are no longer required. Due to this, other discretionary services such as the boat launch and recovery service; and the grading of shingle on the beach, can no longer be provided. The majority of these are provided by, or can be accessed through, other local locations or organisations. This includes the provision of slipways at Selsey and Chichester Harbour for launching boats.

Other challenges faced by the service include equipment constraints and difficulty in recruiting and training casual staff to what is a very physical and complex role. These factors have led to the service being reviewed and redesigned to meet current needs.

Date of Release: 5 December 2023

Ref: 4302