Sea defences to be tested once again

TIDES are set to rise by one metre by the end of the week - but weathermen are not expecting a repeat of last month's flooding at Felixstowe.Coastal engineers will keep a close watch on the seafront area this weekend and early next week, but the sea wall and other defences should be able to cope with the four-metre tide.

By Richard Cornwell

TIDES are set to rise by one metre by the end of the week - but weathermen are not expecting a repeat of last month's flooding at Felixstowe.

Coastal engineers will keep a close watch on the seafront area this weekend and early next week, but the sea wall and other defences should be able to cope with the four-metre tide.

Metcheck said the big difference this time will be the wind direction.


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Winds are expected to remain easterly until Thursday and then swing round to the west and south-west. Although they will pick up to around 18mph, they should help hold back the tides and mean the waves will not be that spectacular.

Forecasts can change however, and it was slight alteration in wind direction last month that caused havoc.

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High tides had been expected but the shift from north to north-easterly winds drove the waves onto the beaches at the southern part of Felixstowe, smashing onto the edge of the prom, shooting spray 30ft into the air, and sweeping across the walkway to flood gardens to around three feet deep.

As onlookers watched in amazement, the sea kept on coming - and even spilled over the sea wall into Sea Road, leaving the pavement down the seaward side several inches deep in water.

Huge chunks of the concrete prom near Manor End were broken, lifted and moved, coping stones knocked off walls and beach huts jostled together.

Rocks placed on the beach as part of emergency works held firm and the beach actually gained some sand and shingle in places.

However, £70,000 worth of extra repairs are now taking place in Undercliff Road East to shore up breakwaters.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “The East Anglian coastline is a very interesting area and a slight change in wind direction - just a few degrees - can sometimes make all the difference.

“The veering of the wind from north to north-easterly would mean instead of being sheltered Felixstowe would be more exposed.”

Hopes are high that an £11 million scheme to protect 1,600 homes, businesses and the port with new rock groynes and beach replenishment can go ahead next summer.

Do you think Felixstowe's sea defences will last the winter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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