The new Bersted Brooks Park masterplan has been approved by Arun District Council following public consultation.
A revised area masterplan was agreed by members of the council’s environment committee at a meeting on Tuesday, January 23, for the new Bersted Brooks Park project approved in December 2022.
Landscaping officers said revisions to the plans were to increase accessibility for residents, increase flood resilience, ‘enhance’ biodiversity within the park, and pull the park back from future residential areas.
She said following a series of consultations in early 2023, residents said reducing flood risk with natural and manmade solutions, and parking overflowing into residential areas and the Bersted community centre, are their main concerns.
Bersted Brooks Nature Reserve and Park Project, now just Bersted Brooks, will combine several open spaces and the existing Bersted Brooks nature reserve to make a 47 hectare reserve.
The combined site will extend from Bersted Community Centre along the north and south sides of the A259 towards the Saltbox business park, and will include elevated walkways for accessibility when flooded, larger wildlife habitats, and improved park access and pathways.
Members also raised concerns about parking, with non-committee and committee members echoing concerns of residents about availability of parking spaces to residents if the park saw a large amount of visitors.
Officers said they would not be encouraging residents or other visitors to park at the community centre to access the reserve, noting they pulled the park boundary away from residential areas in order to discourage people from trying to park there.
Vice chair of the committee, Amanda Worne (LDem, Yapton) said the council needed to be ‘careful’ with its budget for the project, saying the council’s current budget position and the upcoming flood forum should ‘take precedence’.
She said: “It’s going to take 30 years, I think we were told, to complete, so it’s a very ongoing thing – there’s no need to rush it.”
Keir Greenway (Con, Bersted), who has been a vocal advocate for the project, said the public consultation showed over 50 per cent support for every metric the council asked residents about.
He said: “I just wanted to highlight, the sheer number of positives that this masterplan will be able to deliver.
“We know that this area is underwater quite a lot of the time and if the accessibility can be improved, if we can get some boardwalks in there so it can be used during the wet season, I think that’s a very positive thing.
“This is a masterplan and it can change, certain reports that are outstanding – depending on what some of those reports say – this plan can change.”