Coastal Strategy Seeks Local Views

A new Coastal Flood and Erosion Risk Management Strategy for Fareham and Gosport coastlines is being prepared by the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP). The strategy will look at the options and preferred management approaches to help protect people and the local area from flooding and coastal erosion over the next 100 years. The strategy will cover the coastline from Burridge down to Hook Spit, at the mouth of the River Hamble, and then through to Portchester encompassing the two major towns of Gosport and Fareham.

The project lead, ESCP has commissioned the engineering and environmental consultants URS to help develop the strategy.

As part of the development phase of the project a key stakeholder workshop was recently held. Organisations and individuals from a broad range of backgrounds were invited to share their ideas and aspirations for the coastline. Attendees included representatives from local residents associations, sailing clubs, angling clubs and beach hut users, Gosport and Fareham Borough Councils, the Environment Agency and Hampshire County Council.

The workshop focused on key topics including coastal defence, recreation and access, and opportunities and issues.  Exploring these topics revealed lots of useful information and ideas around disabled access, environmental enhancement and ways to improve the coastline for future generations.

Feedback was extremely positive with over 85% of attendees saying that the workshop has helped to increase their awareness of local coastal management issues.

Cllr Keith Evans, the Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Environment at Fareham Borough Council said ‘Seeking this type of information at an early stage in the project ensures that any coastal management options put forward consider how those with a vested interest in the coast wish to see it evolve.’

Cllr Derek Kimber, Vice Chairman of the Community Board at Gosport Borough Council said ‘The findings of this workshop will prove invaluable when helping to inform the final coastal management options for our shoreline bearing in mind what is technically feasible, environmentally acceptable and financially viable.’

The workshop forms part of a wider engagement process being implemented throughout the duration of the project. A detailed workshop report can be downloaded, along with other project documents, from the strategy page of the ESCP website. Once the preferred coastal management options have been determined a 3 month period of public consultation will be held in the summer/autumn of 2014. Ongoing discussions and meetings with the public and key stakeholders will continue throughout the project.

Once the final strategy has been approved by the Environment Agency, who are funding the project, it will provide the business case, route map and funding regime to deliver sustainable coastal management along the Gosport and Fareham coastline over the coming 100 years.