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Concrete boulders a beach hazard

PUBLISHED: 13:26 06 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

HUGE lumps of concrete which are hidden by tides have been identified as the latest hazard on the beaches at Felixstowe. Tourism chiefs and sea defence engineers have warned visitors to the seafront this summer to be careful and try to avoid the groynes which are rapidly deteriorating and breaking up.

HUGE lumps of concrete which are hidden by tides have been identified as the latest hazard on the beaches at Felixstowe.

Tourism chiefs and sea defence engineers have warned visitors to the seafront this summer to be careful and try to avoid the groynes which are rapidly deteriorating and breaking up.

The power of the sea has moved several chunks of concrete groyne into the water close to the shore.

Beach walker and local campaigner Peter Wheatley spotted two big pieces of concrete, which appear to have come from one of the groynes, in the middle of the beach in the Spa Pavilion area.

At low tide the concrete boulders can be seen and they do not cause a problem, but when the sea sweeps over them they are hidden.

"If someone ran straight down the beach and into the sea not knowing these two great big pieces of concrete were there just below the water they could hurt themselves quite badly," said Mr Wheatley, of Colneis Road, Felixstowe.

"We have been assured the water is safe now as far as bacteria is concerned, but it is not safe when there are dangers like this."

He is worried that a young child could blunder in to the concrete, or that it could be moved by the sea into an even more dangerous position.

Mr Wheatley has called on Suffolk Coastal council to tackle the situation and remove pieces of concrete which have broken off groynes and other obstacles on the beaches.

He has also suggested that a fresh look be taken at the whole of the seafront to identify parts where new areas might be reclaimed from the sea by extending the land to create new events areas.

"A scheme of pile-driving could create a new beachfront beyond the existing groynes and infilling the space would create a new viable resident, business and eventing area, giving a new meaning to what at present is still a quaint Victorian town at the seaside," said Mr Wheatley.

"Piecemeal development must succumb to long term development that doubles the width of the beach and prom, allowing the possible construction of perhaps two piers, with generous parking beneath approaches, leisure and entertainment could develop within the this form of expansion, doubling land availability.

"This method of land reclamation by attacking the sea and creating commercial assets plus raising a substantial sea wall to protect lower parts of Felixstowe has enormous potential of profitable return."

Many concerns have been expressed about the state of the beach so far this summer with a number of dangers being highlighted, including five feet drops from the prom to the beach at Cobbold's Point and Manor End.

Erosion has left some groynes as potentially lethal climbing obstacles for children, while some have gaps large enough beneath for a child to crawl through or get trapped.

Suffolk Coastal has neither the budget or the intention to remove obstacles at the moment, but has put up signs to warn people to be careful and avoid the groynes. It has also employed consultants Halcrow to investigate the problems to see what solutions might be possible.

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