Living on the coast

We are a coastal district and many of our residents choose to live here as they enjoy the benefits of being close to the sea. We have beautiful stretches of beach, with a range of leisure activities and there are well documented health benefits associated with living by the sea.  However, alongside these great advantages there are also risks and challenges that come with buying property on the coast. 

However, living close to the sea always carries some level of risk. Owners should be aware of this and should take appropriate protective measures if they consider it necessary. 

The highest risk is that your home may be subjected to flooding or erosion. If you are considering buying a property in the district we strongly recommend you check the risk of flooding with the Environment Agency . Living in an area with a high risk of flooding will likely affect your insurance premiums.


There are no published data sets to assess risk of erosion for individual properties. However, we recommend looking at our coast protection strategies or the National Coastal Erosion Risk mapping (2018-2021, or 2012-2017) in order to make your own assessment if necessary.

Neither us nor the Environment Agency have a duty to protect the coast from erosion or flooding. The various Acts of Parliament under which we work, provide powers to Arun to reduce the risk of erosion and the Environment Agency to reduce the risk of flooding.  You can read the Coast Protection Act 1949 and the Land Drainage Act 1991 which govern how we work.

Building on the coast

As well as the information above about living on the coast, we recommend familiarising yourself with the Adopted Local Plan 2018 and specifically to Chapter 18: Water [PDF] which covers both risk of flooding and erosion by the sea. 

In considering new locations for development, and to minimise future risks, it is also important that developers consult the latest Strategic Flood Risk Assessment [PDF] this details current data and maps to ensure that development is avoided in areas at risk of flooding. 

We may hold non-digitalised records of coastal flooding, including some geographical data. 

Request non-digitalised records

Development at Pagham Beach Estate

We are considering the appropriateness of development at Pagham Beach Estate as the area is vulnerable to increased risk of erosion and flooding due to the dynamic local coastal processes. 

Please read Pagham coastal protection for more information about the dynamic nature, history, flooding and erosion at Pagham beach.

Affected Area - Pagham beach estate mapppendix1 [pdf] 903KB

We have agreed 2 actions to try and ensure that development is sustainable at Pagham Beach Estate.

Firstly, we will explore whether the area should be classified as a Coastal Change Management Area (CCMA).

Secondly, we have agreed a new interim framework for assessing planning applications on Pagham Beach Estate while the implications of a CCMA are explored.  

Pagham Interim Development Framework

On the 6 October 2021, the Planning Policy Committee agreed a new interim framework for assessing planning applications at Pagham Beach Estate. 

The agreed approach has been formed below;


Category ref.

Development type




All new development


Not permitted


All redevelopment – (new structure[s])

Where there is

significantly raised level of risk now or in predictions covering the ensuing 5 years

Not permitted


All redevelopment (new structure[s])

No raised level of risk now or in predictions covering the ensuing 5 years and

AND no occupier density increase


finished floor levels to be at least 300mm above predicted flood levels in all cases




Using substantial portions of the existing building – e.g.

re-roofing or fenestration


with increased property level

protection where practicable


Non-habitable development

e.g. garages, porches, non-habitable



where otherwise allowed – conditioned upon continuing non-habitable status



Other risk reduction related development


permitted where otherwise




Draft minutes

Agenda and report

Each application will be assessed by the coastal engineer using an archive of information collected by the National Network of Regional Coast Monitoring Programmes, the community, and our engineering team.

The assessment will mainly use beach profile analysis, recycling logs and site photographs. Pagham beach has been an area of intense monitoring over the past 10 years and the repository has, in places, cross sectional profile data spanning more than 30 years.

Five years is a relatively short period of time and applications which are permitted under the interim framework should still question the appropriateness of the development for the lifetime of the development.

Coastal Change Management Areas

A Coastal Change Management Area (CCMA) is an area identified in a Local Plan as likely to be affected by coastal change (physical change to the shoreline through erosion, accretion,coastal landslip, or inundation). A CCMA is a planning tool that helps to guide the appropriateness of development in areas where rates of shoreline change are significant over the next 100 years.

A CCMA has not been declared for this part of the coastline. However, we are exploring the effects of implementing a CCMA to protect current and future residents. We are unsure if this designation would be suitable for Pagham. Therefore, an appraisal will be undertaken to assess the full implications of designating the area as a CCMA. The appraisal process cannot implement a CCMA but may provide recommendations.

The appraisal process is still in its early stages, we are currently working on a brief internally and a consultant has not been appointed to undertake the work.