MAJOR plans to open up a riverfront to cyclists and pedestrians while reducing the risk of flooding will take a major step forward thanks to a deal between a council and a yacht club.

As part of a wide-reaching plan, Adur District Council wants to transform the industrial units along the River Adur’s Western Harbour Arm at Shoreham into new homes and work spaces with a waterfront promenade.

One obstacle been the location of the current Sussex Yacht Club building in Brighton Road, regarded as a key weakness in flood defences.

To cut the risk of flooding to the town and neighbouring properties while encouraging private investment in the area, the council has now struck a deal with the club.

The council will buy some of the club’s land with the proceeds being used by the club to build a new clubhouse. The council will then knock down the existing building, which is at the northern end of the Adur Ferry Bridge, and build new flood defences plus a riverside cycle and pedestrian route.

The £4.7 million project will transform the surrounding area for thousands of residents and visitors to the town.

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin said: “We have been working towards – and succeeding – on a vision to transform the district for a number of years. The regeneration of the industrial riverside and improved flood defences is at the heart of bringing more investment into area.

“Key to all of this is the Sussex Yacht Club site, which is why I’m delighted we have been able to work with the community and partners to move this forward.

“The end result will be a major step forward in a renaissance of Shoreham, which will transform the area and the lifestyle of the people that live and work in the town.”

A report on the Sussex Yacht Club project will be presented to Adur and Worthing councils’ joint strategic committee next week on June 5.

The scheme is part of the wider-reaching Shoreham Harbour Joint Area Action Plan, which will mean hundreds of homes created along the Western Harbour Arm.

The majority of flood defences in this area will be provided by private investment as individual sites are developed.

But the report to councillors says: “Sussex Yacht Club as a members’ club is unlikely to have a commercial incentive to carry out this work.”

The project will be funded by £3.5 million from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and up to £1.2 million from the Environment Agency.

Councillors will be informed that Heads of Terms for the project have now been agreed. The next step is for contracts to be exchanged and consents to be agreed with work potentially starting later this year.

The flood prevention work, footpath and cycleway could be complete by 2021, subject to planning permission.