Prom smashed by wave power

HIGH tides pounding the sea defences protecting an historic coastal fort have smashed another section of promenade.Waves had already begun attacking the land in front of the monument, and now a large section of the concrete walkway has collapsed.

By Richard Cornwell

HIGH tides pounding the sea defences protecting an historic coastal fort have smashed another section of promenade.

Waves had already begun attacking the land in front of the monument, and now a large section of the concrete walkway has collapsed.

Steel mesh fencing has been put up to stop the public getting onto the beach or the prom in front of Landguard Fort at Felixstowe because of the danger.

English Heritage officials, who already have contractors at the fort carrying out refurbishment work, are assessing the situation to see what can be done.

The body is the owner of the fort – the scene of the last attempted invasion of England in 1667 – and council officials, who have asked its representatives to take urgent action, say it is responsible for protecting the monument.

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It is understood that English Heritage feel there is no immediate danger from the erosion to the fort, an important pivot of the country's coastal defences for nearly 300 years, serving in two world wars.

The latest heavy seas have battered sheet piling and pulled it away from the concrete wall, and have then sucked material out from beneath it.

This has caused a large section of concrete prom to break off and be washed away into Harwich Harbour.

The area taking a battering is to the immediate south of the John Bradfield Viewing Area, directly in front of the second world war gun batteries.

There has been severe erosion of the beach – which is exposed at low tide, although the sea fills the harbour at high tide – in the past two years, which has caused problems for the foot ferry and its passengers, who have had difficulty getting onto the beach.

Work is currently taking place to turn the fort into a major visitor attraction and archaeologists have been on site for some months, excavating buried gun batteries to open up more of the building to the public.

WEBLINK: www.english-heritage.org.uk

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