Erosion prompts fears of loss of views

SUDDEN and dramatic erosion has left shipspotters worried their favourite view of the world's biggest vessels could be restricted.

SUDDEN and dramatic erosion has left shipspotters worried their favourite view of the world's biggest vessels could be restricted.

High tides have battered the foreshore alongside the John Bradfield Viewing Area next to Felixstowe port, and the sea has found a way behind the steel-piled wall in front of Landguard Fort, one of the resort's main attractions.

Steps to the beach have been taped off because of a deep hole which has suddenly appeared, and a path protecting the fort and Crow's Nest snack bar is at risk of being washed away.

Four years ago, steel fencing was put up across the harbour frontage of the area, restricting viewing and parking after severe erosion left it in a dangerous state.

After that repairs were carried out and thousands of tonnes of shingle were used to rebuild the beach.

Samantha Dorling, who owns the Crow's Nest, said she was very worried about the latest erosion.

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She said: “Where it has managed to find a way in at the back of the steps it is just dirt and mud and a couple of high tides could easily wash all that away.

“I stood on the top of that area this morning and the soil beneath my feet just crumbled away.

“It is an absolute nightmare.

“Last time this happened we had to have fencing all the way along and that meant less people could use the viewing area.

“Business is only now starting to pick up because we had such a long, cold spell this winter. It will be awful if this erosion gets any worse.”

More than half a million people use the car park each year to watch the shipping and other activities in the harbour, catch the foot ferry and visit the nature reserve, fort and museum.

One shipspotter said: “We have taped off the steps temporarily because it is so dangerous and someone could really get hurt if they tripped and fell.

“We just wonder if anyone will do anything this time as this whole area is to be demolished and a new viewing area rebuilt as part of the port expansion.”

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager at the Port of Felixstowe, said the affected area would be fenced off for safety reasons. Discussions were taking place with Suffolk Coastal's engineers about the situation and other affected landowners to see whose responsibility the affected area was and what might be done to remedy the problem.

WEBLINKS: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk; www.portoffelixstowe.co.uk; www.englishheritage.org.uk