Minister visits sea defences

A GOVERNMENT minister is visiting Felixstowe today to see the resort's new �10 million sea defences.

A GOVERNMENT minister is visiting Felixstowe today to see the resort's new �10 million sea defences.

Huw Irranca-Davies will be shown the work which took place last summer to repair and revitalise the resort's south shores - creating a new wide sandy beach for residents and visitors to enjoy.

The work was vital because erosion of the beaches along Sea Road had caused a deep drop to the shore in some places and parts of the prom to collapse.

The scheme - which involved building a series of 21 T-shaped rock groynes between the pier and Landguard plus rejuvenating the beach with 200,000 cubic metres of sand and shingle - protects the low-lying seafront area, including 1,600 homes and businesses.

Completion was also needed to enable the �25m south seafront redevelopment scheme to go-ahead. The project to build a maritime park and 158 homes has now been delayed because of the recession.

Mr Irranca-Davies will spend 30 minutes at Felixstowe being show the new defences, which the resort's tourist trade hopes will contribute to a busy summer this year, attracting many people to enjoy the new sandy shore.

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It is not known if he will be shown the area between the War Memorial and Jacob's Ladder which will be the focus of the next stage of the resort's coast protection strategy and for which plans are currently on the table.

Earlier, Mr Irranca-Davies, minister for the natural and marine environment, wildlife and rural affairs, will visit Southwold Harbour where the town is campaigning for funding for urgent repairs to stop more of the harbour wall crumbling into the sea.

The existing breach in the north dock wall worsened last month as two more concrete sections fell into the sea. Now the car park behind it has started to slump and material is leaching into the water.

During the afternoon he will meet representatives of communities and action groups, as well as councillors and officers from Suffolk Coastal District Council, Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council, and the Environment Agency.