Massive sea defence repair cost

IT could cost more than £4.5 million to repair sea defences alongside a low-lying 17-acre site earmarked for housing and a tourism project, it was revealed today.

IT could cost more than £4.5 million to repair sea defences alongside a low-lying 17-acre site earmarked for housing and a tourism project, it was revealed today.

Experts have warned that the defences protecting southern Felixstowe have deteriorated so badly they could fail this winter.

Emergency work costing around £150,000 is set to take place to try to stave off problems while research takes place into a long-term solution.

Suffolk Coastal council says that studies into the situation at Manor End have not yet been completed and no designs have yet been drawn up for the work, but it expects the cost to be in the region of £4.5m.

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In addition, it may yet be necessary to do more work at Cobbold's Point, where £3m was spent two years ago and emergency repairs have already been necessary in two places where beach levels have dropped dramatically.

The area causing most concern though is at Manor End right alongside the officially-designated flood plain known as the south seafront, where Suffolk Coastal council wants to build nearly 200 homes.

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Consultants Halcrow say that if no action is taken the resort's front-line defences – the groynes – could fail in one to two years, and that could even be this winter if there are severe storms.

The council has already agreed to place huge rocks at the Manor End ramp, where the sea wall is deteriorating and beach levels are very low.

Underpinning will also be done on strategic groynes, and more rocks will be stockpiled nearby to be rushed to the scene of any breach in the defences.

Beach levels will be constantly monitored, and talks will be held with the Environment Agency, responsible for the area from Manor End to Landguard, as it is concerned about its front-line defences this winter.

In a report to the cabinet, director of finance Peter Collicott said the council was acting prudently in putting aside the cash now for the Manor End work.

The district council has earmarked £1m towards the cost, and hopes the county council will contribute and that government grant aid will also be available.

"The council is awaiting the final outcome of various studies in respect of coast protection. Indications from the studies are that within two years the concrete groynes on the south Felixstowe coastal frontage should be replaced with fishtail groynes and/or offshore reefs, and within five years the prom wall at Manor End should be realigned and a crest wall constructed on the prom," said Mr Collicott.

Some groynes have already been undermined and toppled over, and extremely high tides have occasionally overtopped defences or flooded the seafront gardens, or damaged the prom or left it deep in sand and shingle.

Sandbags are issued to homes in Manor Terrace each winter and the sea wall has been overtopped regularly.


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