New sea defences for resort

CONSULTANTS are to be appointed to draw up the detailed proposals for the next multi-million pound sea defence scheme to protect homes at Felixstowe from the sea.

CONSULTANTS are to be appointed to draw up the detailed proposals for the next multi-million pound sea defence scheme to protect homes at Felixstowe from the sea.

Experts say 525 homes, 99 businesses, the prom, Spa Pavilion and its historic gardens, a coast road and the resort's main sewer could be at risk of being washed away.

Five listed buildings, including Harvest House and South Beach Mansion, are also under threat.

Work costing £10 million was carried out this summer to protect the low-lying area from the pier to the Manor, and community leaders say they need to get on with the next stage as soon as possible.

This will be from Jacob's Ladder - stone steps from the cliffs to the beach at Old Felixstowe - to the War Memorial.

The biggest problem is around Cobbold's Point, where a previous scheme to create a wishbone reef has not been as effective as hoped.

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Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Andy Smith said the area to be protected was a key part of the resort and its future was critical to the regeneration of the town - potential losses to the tourist economy were estimated at up to £132m over the next century.

About £80,000 was spent last year and early this year to underpin groynes near the Town Hall and stop the loss of beach.

“However, other groynes continue to deteriorate with a consequent reduction in beach level threatening to undermine the seawall, as happened in south Felixstowe in May 2006,” he said.

“The most immediate threat currently is at Cobbold's Point and to the immediate south, in the vicinity of The Fludyers public house.”

“Not investing in new defences at central Felixstowe in a timely manner will lead to increased maintenance costs as ageing defences deteriorate and become ineffective.”

The project will involve construction of new groynes plus beach replenishment along the Spa Gardens and Undercliff Road sections, and modifications to the Cobbold's Point defences.

At a later date, Undercliff Road East would have a set-back wall to hold back rising sea levels.

Next step will be an appraisal report by consultants, seeking tenders and the public's views.

Will new groynes solve Felixstowe's problems? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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SEA defence work to protect one of the most vulnerable parts of Suffolk's coastline is suffering delays because a barge delivering rock had an accident.

The Stema 2 was bringing 22,000 tonnes of rock to be used off East Lane at Bawdsey.

Work started two months ago on the scheme to protect a Martello Tower and two homes, and eroding cliffs which if lost would lead to large areas of low-lying land in Bawdsey, Alderton and Hollesley being flooded.

The rock-laden barge left Norway safely but then ran aground off the Dutch coast.

It has left contractors without enough rock to finish the new defences and residents worried about the impact of winter storms.

The defences were low on the list of priorities for national funding and have only been able to go ahead thanks to an innovative community partnership which raised the money by gaining permission to use farmland to build homes on three nearby sites.

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