Prom in danger of collapse

EMERGENCY work was today being carried out to beat the tides and try to prevent part of Felixstowe's prom from collapsing.High tides have swept away several feet of shore, and beach huts have had to be quickly lifted clear before they were smashed to pieces.

EMERGENCY work was today being carried out to beat the tides and try to prevent part of Felixstowe's prom from collapsing.

High tides have swept away several feet of shore, and beach huts have had to be quickly lifted clear before they were smashed to pieces.

Fencing is being put up in Undercliff Road East to stop people and vehicles going on the part of the prom affected because there are real fears that it could suddenly cave in.

There is now a drop of around six feet to the shore on parts of the East Beach, hut stands are poised precariously and some have collapsed, and the stumps of old groynes are visible.


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Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for planning, said the beach had suffered badly in this week's high tides and dropped about a foot alone overnight on Wednesday-Thursday.

The waves had exposed part of a previously-hidden world war two bunker or defence position attached to the prom and which had an opening leading beneath the walkway.

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"The first thing we need to do is get the opening shuttered off to try to prevent the sea going in and scouring away more material, and also to fence off the area to ensure no vehicles go onto it," said Mr Smith.

"We will also be carrying out emergency works, possibly using some rock to protect the prom, and looking at the long-term position.

"But really we want to do the minimum necessary because by next spring the beach could well be back in place, looking just as it was a few weeks ago."

Mr Smith's own beach hut stood on the site and was one of those removed onto the prom for safety.

The hut owners had built special stands embedded into the beach on long spikes for their chalets to stand on because the beach had suffered erosion previously.

One owner had used concrete tubes and most of his neighbours thought they would last forever, but were now scattered across the sand.

The area which has been eroded is immediately next to a stretch which last year had to have £140,000 worth of emergency work, again to protect the prom after the beach level between the groynes dropped dramatically.

The massive granite rocks placed on the beach are still there and no-one is saying when they might be removed.

Mr Smith denied that that work had been the cause of the latest problems.

"We don't think there is a connection. This area has suffered problems with erosion before, though I have never seen the beach this low and certainly was not aware of the world war two bunker being there," he said.

Earlier this week the council announced that emergency work was needed this winter at Manor End at the southern end of the prom otherwise front-line defences might fail this winter.

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