Concern as public footpath to close at Chichester Marina for urgent repairs

Concerns have been raised ahead of the vital works which are set to take place on the 50-year-old lock gates at Chichester Marina.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 1:20 pm

From Friday, February 7 until at least Thursday, March 12, the public footpath over the marina will be closed to the public, whilst significant engineering work takes place. There is a contingency overrun period, which would end on March 20, in case of ‘unforeseen works or delays, such as adverse weather’.

The scheduled work, which will cost around £350,000, includes standard maintenance; repair to the recently damaged gates after a boat struck them; replacement of the inner/outer gate bearings; rebuild of the lock’s gearbox and supporting steel work; lock rewiring and installation of a new lock control system.

Birdham resident Richard Hutchinson said the closure will be an inconvenience as it is ‘very busy and popular’ with walkers, cyclists and runners, ‘particularly at weekends’.

People are concerned about the proposed temporary closure of public footpath over the Chichester Marina, seen here with Paul Cook, Marina Manager. Pic Steve Robards SR20010601 SUS-200601-121014001
People are concerned about the proposed temporary closure of public footpath over the Chichester Marina, seen here with Paul Cook, Marina Manager. Pic Steve Robards SR20010601 SUS-200601-121014001

He added: “When the gates were shut a couple of weeks ago, within ten minutes there were 12 people waiting and that was a cold grey December midweek day.

“I enquired whether the public crossing would remain in some form but was told that due to health and safety this was not possible.”

Richard said the alternative route, via Salterns Way, is ‘not valid to many’.

“This would take 25 to 30 minutes at 3mph, so adding an hour for able bodied walkers to walk there and back, and a lot more for those with kids, buggies or elderly,” he said.

Chichester Marina. Pic Steve Robards SR20010601 SUS-200601-121158001

Marina manager Paul Cook said a bridge is ‘not feasible or practical’ but he ‘completely understands the concerns’.

He added: “It’s such a large area so the whole thing has to be closed from a health and safety point of view.

“When I joined in July, we needed to pull three years’ worth of work in one year.

“The main bearing for each of the four lock gates needs repairing, as they have worn away. Huge engineering work is needed to replace the bearings and electrics.

“I am really passionate about keeping the marina open to the public as it’s a wonderful attraction. 

“I am a dog walker myself and I see where they [the residents] are coming from [but] the work is needed and we have made a big investment.”