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Row over new million-pound sea defences

PUBLISHED: 04:48 22 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 March 2010

APPROVAL has only been given for £2.5 million of new sea defences for Felixstowe because it will protect a prime development site, it has been claimed.

APPROVAL has only been given for £2.5 million of new sea defences for Felixstowe because it will protect a prime development site, it has been claimed.

Liberal Democrat councillor Dot Paddick accused Conservative-controlled Suffolk Coastal of agreeing the project to counter concern over flooding of the south seafront – where 180 homes are to be built – instead of tackling priorities.

But council leaders deny the accusations and say that unless action is taken to replace the groynes between Orford Road and the Manor Club within two years they could collapse and there would be big problems for the beach and seafront.

Mrs Paddick said: "I think this looks like a scheme simply to ensure the south seafront can be developed and will not be flooded.

"I am absolutely livid. If those groynes need replacing, and this area of beach runs exactly and only the length of the south seafront land, then why has it not been done before? Why now?

"When Felixstowe was flooded in 1953 the floodwater didn't come from the sea anyway – it came from the river across where the port is now.

"According to the consultants there is still a risk of that happening but the council doesn't want to do anything about that for another 15 years.

"But the south seafront is a priority. It seems we are shutting the front door while leaving the back door wide open."

Conservative councillors though say the work – probably rock groynes or offshore reefs – is not being done to protect the south seafront, which is already protected by sea walls to a level three feet above the 1953 flood level.

They stress that the work is needed to stop further erosion of the main holiday beach and has not been done before because the council was waiting for the outcome of a major study on the priorities for managing the resort's coast.

The report identified a series of schemes which needed over the next 50 years and the south seafront, followed by Manor End to Landguard, are the priorities.

The council's cabinet agreed to seek urgent talks with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over grant aid for the work.

If funds are approved, consultants will be appointed to draw up detailed plans for the scheme.

Emergency work costing £150,000 to shore up the beach at Manor End ramp with rock and repair some groynes was carried out at the end of the winter.

n What do you think – should Felixstowe have rock groynes, reefs or timber groynes? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk


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