Bid to save beach huts foiled by stormy weather

Some of the 55 huts stranded on Felixstowe prom since losing their beach sites due to erosion Pictur

Some of the 55 huts stranded on Felixstowe prom since losing their beach sites due to erosion Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL - Credit: Archant

A pioneering project designed to save 55 beach huts in Felixstowe has been axed after stormy weather took its toll on beach levels. 

Two bays outside the Spa Pavilion were set to be used to trial a unique project to house the huts which have stood on the Promenade for two years because of sand erosion. 

One bay would have been built up with sand to create an ordinary platform while the other would have had an experimental design featuring a retaining wall of interlocking concrete blocks propping up a levelled-off sandbank between the wall and the promenade.

However, the area experienced substantial falls in beach levels when Storm Darcy earlier this year, bringing strong easterly winds. The storm showed how the platforms would have easily been undermined and a decision was taken not to go ahead. 

East Suffolk District Council also said there was not enough beach material in the area for the depth required to insert the platforms, nor create a control sand platform.

The council is now going to consider different options beyond moving the beach huts on and off the Promenade. 

Kerry Blair, head of operations at East Suffolk Council, said: “It has become evident during recent storms, that it will not be feasible to go ahead with the proposed pilot scheme as the amount of beach material this would require, would limit the area available to other beach users severely.

"Whist this is not the outcome we hoped for, we appreciate that this came to light before work started on the pilot scheme and we will now reassess the situation and explore other options which will enable us to maintain an amenity beach in the long-term.”

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The council said there were "no simple solutions" to the situation and that future options for the beach huts would depend on various factors and parties, including the Environment Agency and Crown Estates as  East Suffolk Council does not own the land beyond the low tide mark.

It said that possible solutions, such as beach replenishment and/or alterations/extensions to groins would be dependent on the support and priorities of other agencies. 

Until a solution has been found, the beach huts will remain in their current location on the Promenade.

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