Restore river’s meanders is a popular plan

THE CUCKMERE’S iconic meanders should be restored – that’s the message from the community following a major public meeting about its future.

More than 120 people attended the event as part of the Cuckmere Pathfinder Project to vote on different options for the future of the Estuary.

The clear and over-riding message was that the meanders are the most important aspect of the Cuckmere.

For that reason, there was considerable interest in the option that seeks to restore and reactivate the meanders as the medium to long term solution.

The option most favoured by the community was to maintain the existing defences and the meeting concluded that this should be the shorter term plan, while further research, fundraising and development into restoring the meanders took place.

The meeting is one of many that have taken place following the decision by the Environment Agency to go ahead with its plan to withdraw sea defences.

The latest decision was the outcome of the ground-breaking Cuckmere Pathfinder Project, through which East Sussex County Council has worked with landowners, statutory bodies and members of the community in an attempt to reach a consensus about the future of the Estuary.

Welcoming the community’s decision, Andy Robertson said, “People care passionately and deeply about the Cuckmere, and it was clear that the meanders are felt to be a particularly important feature.

“Everyone has their own view about the future, but through the Pathfinder Project I believe we have arrived at a consensus – a solution which had the support of the vast majority of the many members of the community who took part in the project.

“Arriving at this shared decision has been a long and complex process involving hundreds of people.

“I am enormously grateful to all those who have taken part and given their time and expertise and for the positive way in which people with a wide range of opinions have engaged in the process and with each other.

“Our next step will be to take the community’s decision back to the council for formal ratification.

“After that, we will fully support the community in its plans to implement the solution which has been agreed.”

A full report on the project will be published over the summer.