AN ambitious plan to create a new salt marsh wildlife area at Rye Harbour has been given the go ahead by planners at Rother Council.
The plans, submitted by Rye Wharf owners Rastrum Ltd, also includes flood defences.
It is the first stage of a series of plans being put together by Rye Wharf to help regenerate the area.
A submission to expand the commercial sector of the wharf is expected in the future and has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs. The plans are being backed by Rye MP Amber Rudd.
The new scheme, which is being backed by English Nature, will involve alterations to the sea wall to allow the area to flood, creating a 1.2 hectare area of salt marsh.
It will prevent creeks from silting up and maintain the bio-diversity of the area.
Cllr Sue Prochak said: “It is welcome to have an application which restores a habitat.”
Rye councillor Sam Souster said: “There has to be a delicate balance between ecology and wildlife and a working wharf. Jobs in the area are badly needed.”
Planning chief Tim Hickling confirmed that the core planning strategy identified the need for more commercial expansion in the area.
Commenting on the application, he said: “The recreation of salt marsh habitat is to be welcomed and accords with local and national policy.
“The proposal will also maintain flood defences in the area.
“This will result in an enhancement of the local ecology and add to the nature conservation of the Dungeness to Pett Level Special Protection Area and the Rye Harbour Site of Special Scientific Interest.
“It is anticipated that an application to extend the commercial wharf area will subsequently be submitted for the rest of the site.
“Historically there have been issues regarding land contamination along Harbour Road but this particular site has not been subject to contamination.”
The application won unanimous approval.