Emergency work to save beach

EMERGENCY work costing £250,000 is being carried out to strengthen some of Felixstowe's groynes in an urgent move to stop the beach disappearing.Contractors have been called in by Suffolk Coastal to repair damage caused by storms last autumn near the Town Hall.

EMERGENCY work costing £250,000 is being carried out to strengthen some of Felixstowe's groynes in an urgent move to stop the beach disappearing.

Contractors have been called in by Suffolk Coastal to repair damage caused by storms last autumn near the Town Hall.

Andy Smith, deputy leader of the council said: “The early November storms gave the groynes in the central area of Felixstowe seafront quite a battering and after a close inspection we decided that we had to carry out some urgent emergency work.

“The groynes have key roles to play in keeping the sand and shingle on the beach and protecting the sea wall.

“It will be at least another couple of years before the funding will be available to carry out the necessary work to provide the long-term defences for central Felixstowe from the Town Hall to Cobbold's Point but this latest emergency work will help get us through to then.

“The diggers and heavy plant will be on site until the end of March but unless we do it, then there is a real danger that the traditional summer sight of children with a bucket and spade could be at risk as the beach could disappear in the same way as has happened in south Felixstowe.”

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While the tide is out, the contractors are fixing steel shuttering on to either side of the concrete groynes, filling in any gaps and levelling off the breakwaters at the top.

The council has deliberately switched tact to using the shuttering approach, rather than placing tonnes of rocks, as the shutters are proving more effective in protecting the groynes and are more in keeping with the traditional look of the beach.

Similar work was carried out last October in Undercliff Road East after heavy storms caused problems.

The council is still waiting to hear whether government is to give the £11 million needed for a major scheme at south Felixstowe drawn up by the council's coast protection engineers and the Environment Agency.

It is hoped this work - which would see a whole series of new T-shaped groynes being installed between the south side of the pier and Manor End - can start this spring.

Which do you prefer to see on the beach - groynes or rocks? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk