£10million cash boost for sea defences

SEAFRONT residents at Felixstowe can today look forward to a safer future - after the resort at last got the £10 million-plus funding it desperately needs for new sea defences.

SEAFRONT residents at Felixstowe can today look forward to a safer future - after the resort at last got the £10 million-plus funding it desperately needs for new sea defences.

Before the gain, residents will have to put up with the pain and suffer a summer of noise, dust and disruption as construction work takes place on the huge project.

The Environment Agency has agreed to allocate the money for the scheme for the southern part of the resort, where 1,600 homes, businesses, tourist attractions and the port are at risk from flooding.

The agency received the cash from Defra as part of the government's allocations for flooding and coast protection work for the next 12 months and will carry out the project jointly with Suffolk Coastal council.

Once completed, the scheme - which will see 20 T-shaped rock groynes being built from the south of the pier to Manor End, plus beach replenishment work - will also allow the 17-acre south seafront to be developed with new homes and a maritime park.

A contractor has already been appointed for the work, which is expected to start next month and take six months.

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A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: “We are delighted to announce that approval has been given. We know this is very good news for Felixstowe and a start on the work is imminent.”

Suffolk Coastal welcomed the official confirmation of the funding.

Deputy council leader Andy Smith said: “This is excellent news, even if it has been an open secret for quite a while now that the funding was going to be available.

“The importance of these works cannot be underestimated, as not only will countless homes now be safe again and Britain's biggest port will be protected, but for us it will also unlock the door to schemes that will help regenerate the resort and town of Felixstowe.

“We will have to put up with one summer of disruption but can look forward to a future where the beach in Felixstowe is back where it should be and the flood wall is no longer under threat.”

As well as the new rock groynes, some extra work will also be done to repair and protect the prom, which is also the sea wall.

Work will take place along a 150 metre stretch from Micklegate Road to Orford Road to put steel sheet piling in front of the prom. This will be filled behind with shingle and the work encased in concrete and stepped to the beach.

Are rock groynes the answer to Felixstowe's eroding beaches? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk