Seafront work funding struggle

HOPES are high that funding for £11million of new sea defences at Felixstowe will come through next year.

HOPES are high that funding for £11million of new sea defences at Felixstowe will come through next year.

But officials said today it could be another two or three years before the cash is available for other much-needed work along the resort's crumbling shoreline.

The biggest problem is the stretch from the pier to Landguard where heavy storms are smashing temporary rock defences and waves have several times now broken parts of the prom and flooded seafront gardens.

New defences would give flooding protection to 1,600 homes, businesses and tourist attractions and the port, and also the 17-acre south seafront site, where work cannot start on new homes and a maritime park until the beach work is done.

Andy Smith, deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said thanks to the tonnes of rock put on the shore there was no structural damage to the sea wall, and beach levels had risen by half a metre since the storms.

He said: “We have still got quite a bit of clearing up to do, with some of the prom's coping stones and surfacing having been lifted and cracked, and there is still a lot of shingle to be cleared up as well.

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“The long-term answer for south Felixstowe is the £11m scheme drawn up by ourselves and the Environment Agency to put in a whole series of new tee-shaped groynes.

“I remain hopeful that this will get the funding to proceed next year.”

The council is at the early stages of the process for the project for the central part of the seafront from the Town Hall to Cobbold's Point.

Mr Smith said it was unlikely funding would be available for this area, which includes the East Beach in Undercliff Road East where there are big drops to the beach from the prom, for two to three years.

To protect the already-battered area from storms during that period, £70,000 of work is taking place at the moment to bolster groynes with concrete and fix steel shuttering on either side of some.

Mr Smith said: “It is a shame that the sight of diggers and heavy plant on our beaches is becoming almost as regular as children with a bucket and spade, but this is the type of temporary emergency work we must do until the funding is available to carry out the much-needed permanent defence works.”

n Do you think Felixstowe's sea defences will cope this 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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