Cafe goes and defences could start

HOPES of a start on a major sea defence scheme to protect 1,600 homes, tourist attractions and businesses in southern Felixstowe have risen after a positive meeting with government officials.

HOPES of a start on a major sea defence scheme to protect 1,600 homes, tourist attractions and businesses in southern Felixstowe have risen after a positive meeting with government officials.

A leading engineer from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) inspected the battered sea wall and prom in a special visit arranged by Suffolk Coastal.

John Horne, DEFRA's governance and delivery programme manager, was shown the partial collapse of the wall and emergency work now being carried out.

Council officials also voiced their frustration over the government's failure to provide funding for a £6 million scheme to put in place rock groynes and beach replenishment.

Meanwhile, work took place over the weekend to demolish the Shore Break café so rocks can be put in place.

Council deputy leader Andy Smith said it was a “very constructive site visit and discussion”.

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“I am sure Mr Horne is now much better informed about the exact scale of the problems facing the town and about our plans to safeguard over 1,600 homes and countless businesses from the very real threat of flooding,” he said.

The council has now submitted to DEFRA an updated version of its scheme - drawn up in partnership with the Environment Agency, which is spending £5m on its share of the work - to provide permanent protection. Work could get underway in September, if funding can be found.

“We hope that Felixstowe will now be recognised as a special case, and that the £6 million needed for the project will be found,” added Mr Smith.

The emergency work now taking place involves nearly 3,000 tonnes of rock being placed along 400 metres of coast, but engineers say it is a sticking plaster and will not last the winter.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

Do you think the government should now give the money? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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