Felixstowe's groynes to be rock solid

FELIXSTOWE'S main holiday beaches will be dramatically changed next year when thousands of tonnes of rock costing £5 million will protect the shore.Nineteen new rock groynes – T-shaped fishtail groynes except for three of them – will be placed between the War Memorial and Landguard Common.

FELIXSTOWE'S main holiday beaches will be dramatically changed next year when thousands of tonnes of rock costing £5 million will protect the shore.

Nineteen new rock groynes – T-shaped fishtail groynes except for three of them – will be placed between the War Memorial and Landguard Common.

It will mean a summer of disruption for the tourist trade and beach users, but the work, with barges delivering the rock by sea and demolition of the old concrete breakwaters, could prove an added attraction.

Unless the work is done there are real fears storms will break through the sea walls in the next two years and cause the prom to collapse.


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Engineers believe the new groynes, which will be 110 metres apart, roughly the area covered by six of the current dilapidated ones, will be the best solution to the erosion problems being suffered in the south of the resort.

There are only one or two details to be ironed out, and then they will apply for planning permission and government grant aid.

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Ken Gordon, engineering services manager at Suffolk Coastal council, said they wanted the public's views on the scheme, particularly on ideas to overcome earlier concerns of access to the beach and the appearance of the rock groynes.

Many people wanted timber groynes, but it was felt these would not be as effective – and would have cost nearer £10 million.

But it was possible to use some timber near to the prom to improve the look in line with the Victorian character of the town, or to have a couple of feet of beach over part of the rocks so people could walk along the shore.

Mr Gordon said to attract government grant the scheme had to meet technical, environmental and economic criteria.

He said: "We have learned a lot about rock groynes and how they work and retain beaches in the past five years and feel at Felixstowe, where there are two different types of currents, this will be the best solution."

"Economically they are cheaper than timber, environmentally the rock can be delivered by sea cutting out noise and traffic, and technically we think they will work better and so we are pretty confident we have a strong case for funding."

When they are in place they should create 10 metres of high beach at high tide – compared with the situation at present where the sea washes to the prom.

It is hoped to start work next spring and the scheme should take six months.

Meanwhile, work is under way on studies for the next stage of protecting Felixstowe's coastline, involving work at Cobbold's Point and East Beach.

A scheme is not expected to start for two to three years and will involve some modifications to the reefs at the point and new rock groynes.

N What do you think about the plans for the groynes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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