Cuckmere Valley future to be decided at meeting

The Victorian flood defences can no longer hold back the tide

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Scores of people have been taking part in a meeting to decide the future of an East Sussex beauty spot.

The Victorian flood defences at Cuckmere Valley can no longer hold back the tide and the Environment Agency (EA) has withdrawn its maintenance.

Residents and other interested groups took part in a meeting at Alfriston Memorial Hall to decide one of seven options for the site.

A report on the outcome is to be published later in the summer.

Cuckmere Valley, which is visited by 450,000 people a year and was created by the Victorians in 1846, is threatened by rising sea levels.

The seven options for the site include the EA's plan to just clear the river mouth of shingle for the next 15 years.

The partial or full breaching of the embankments to restore a naturally functioning estuary is another proposal as is the option to maintain or improve the existing defences.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) received £250,000 from the government to fund the Pathfinder Project.

Andy Robertson, of East Sussex Council, said: "The Pathfinder Project is all about working in partnership and together agreeing the best approach to managing flood risk at the Cuckmere.

"The council will use the community's decision as the basis for its future planning."

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