Concerns over eroding beaches

DESPITE promises that the public's views will be taken into account, they are to be ignored over the best way to protect Felixstowe's eroding beaches.Engineers are recommending £2.

DESPITE promises that the public's views will be taken into account, they are to be ignored over the best way to protect Felixstowe's eroding beaches.

Engineers are recommending £2.5 million is spent as soon as possible on fishtail rock groynes or offshore reefs – even though town councillors, attraction owners, tourist traders and residents firmly disagree.

With rock breakwaters already failing to improve the shore at the East Beach near Cobbold's Point, people feel it will be a disaster to spend millions of pounds on the same defences for the resort's award-winning south beaches.

They want to see a return to sustainable hardwood groynes, which they say have "a proven track record" and have been hugely successful in increasing beach levels at Brackenbury, Felixstowe, and also at south coast resorts.

At an exhibition last month, Andy Schofield , project manager for consultants Halcrow, said "It is important we know what the public feel about the different options and we are very interested in their opinions.

"It is not an exercise we are just going through – the public view will be taken into account when final decisions are made on which scheme is to be built."

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But the engineers are set to do what they said from the start, before the consultation took place, and use rock for groynes or reefs.

In a report to Suffolk Coastal council's cabinet on April 1, director of planning and leisure Jeremy Schofield says: "New timber groynes are expensive to maintain in the long term with a life expectancy somewhat less than that of rock.

"Rock requires minimal maintenance and is therefore more economically sustainable in the longer term.

"Rock is also considered to be more environmentally sustainable than the use of hardwood in the coastal environment."

While it was still not known why the rock groynes at Cobbold's Point are not working, engineers are convinced rock groynes would create bays and improve the beach levels on the straight south beach.

Cabinet is recommended to approve the appointment of consultants to draw up detailed plans for the scheme between Orford Road and Manor End, and to have talks with the Environment Agency over Manor End to Landguard.

n What do you think? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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