Safety railings for Suffolk resort

PUBLISHED: 19:36 05 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

RAILINGS may have to be put up along the edge of part of the prom at Felixstowe – to keep people away from the big boulders being used to bolster the beach.

RAILINGS may have to be put up along the edge of part of the prom at Felixstowe – to keep people away from the big boulders being used to bolster the beach.

It is feared that walkers could fall on to the massive rocks or that some people may try to walk across them and fall or get stuck between them.

Councillors are reluctant to put railings in place because they will not look attractive and not be a good advert for a seaside town's shores – but say public safety is of vital importance.

Andy Smith, deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal council and cabinet member for planning, said a full safety analysis and risk assessment would be carried out once the work to place the rock was complete.

It was possible railings would be required for a stretch of prom, probably from near Cobbold's Point to the Fludyers pub in Undercliff Road East.

The rock is designed to protect the prom's foundations and stop it collapsing and has been placed from the edge of the walkway and gently slopes away onto the shore.

Mr Smith said the contractors carrying out the £150,000 emergency measures had been filling all the gaps with smaller rocks.

"We wanted to avoid the possibility of having dangerous gaps where small children could become trapped, but we will still need to carry out a formal risk assessment when the work is done," he said.

"We will then look at whether anything more needs to be done, such as whether warning signs are adequate, and look at the view on whether railings are needed.

"I hope railings can be avoided, but we need to look at the matter carefully and see what is best for the safety of the public."

Mr Smith told the town council's general purposes committee that the rocks themselves were "not attractive on the seafront, but are more attractive than an absence of prom".

Councillor Mike Deacon voiced worries that children could run straight off the prom onto the rocks unless there were railings – and feared that could lead to accidents on the uneven and hard boulders.

The rock has been put in because the drop from the prom to the sand has been growing over the past few months. The reasons for the erosion though have mystified coastal defence engineers, who say other parts of the shore – where a £3 million sea defence scheme was built last year – have improved.

A coastal defence strategy is already being drawn up by the council's consultants Halcrow, which will include advice on longer-term beach management necessary from Cobbold's Point to Landguard Point.

This will include examining in detail the new Cobbold's Point defences – which include two enormous wishbone-shaped reefs – to see how they are performing and to try to solve the mystery of the erosion on the East Beach.

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