Felixstowe awaits news about defences

COMMUNITY leaders are today waiting anxiously to see if they will get the funding desperately needed to protect 1,600 homes at Felixstowe from flooding.

COMMUNITY leaders are today waiting anxiously to see if they will get the funding desperately needed to protect 1,600 homes at Felixstowe from flooding.

Government officials could make the announcement any day - and if the £11 million project gets the go-ahead, work could start in the spring.

Every high tide brings fresh fears for the southern part of the resort.

In the past few months the North Sea has smashed parts of the prom, flooded seafront gardens and even over-topped defences and sent water spilling into Sea Road.


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Experts say if the conditions conspired, a storm surge on an incoming tide could wreak havoc and put 1,600 homes, businesses and tourist attractions and the port, and also the 17-acre south seafront site, where work cannot start on new homes and a maritime park until the beach work is done, at risk of flooding.

Defra is still compiling its list of grants for work to be done this year but council officials believe the announcement - already delayed - could come any day.

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A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said: “Everything is in place, the scheme has been approved, a contractor appointed, and we now await the news from the government that will give the scheme the financial go-ahead.”

The scheme - to be carried out jointly with the Environment Agency - will involve 20 T-shaped rock groynes being built from the south of the pier to Manor End.

Beach levels fluctuate dramatically in the area, but the trend in the past few years has been erosion.

After a severe battering, part of the prom started to collapse and the Shore Break café has to be demolished to enable emergency work to take place.

This has seen tons of rocks placed along 400 metres of beach to keep the sea at bay.

The new rock groynes will be designed to encourage beach levels to increase and give the area proper protection for the next century, including catering for an expected one metre rise in sea level caused by global warming.

The council is also looking at further work for the central part of the seafront from the Town Hall to Cobbold's Point, though this would probably be even harder to get funding for and no money is expected for at least three years.

Do you think Felixstowe's sea defences will cope this winter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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