Waves pound Suffolk's sea defences

THIS dramatic scene illustrates the desperate need to improve Suffolk's sea defences as the county's coastline battles against the forces of nature.Today, the Felixstowe businessman who owns this building told of his fears for the sea-front cafe after it was lashed by huge waves.

THIS dramatic scene illustrates the desperate need to improve Suffolk's sea defences as the county's coastline battles against the forces of nature.

Today, the Felixstowe businessman who owns this building told of his fears for the sea-front cafe after it was lashed by huge waves.

When the Shore Break Café was built 15 years ago it was three steps above beach-level, but coastal erosion has now increased that distance dramatically.

At the weekend it was battered by high tides of 10ft 9in (3.32m) combined with strong winds, causing the wooden structure to vibrate as waves crashed over its roof.


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Things were so bad on Saturday that the café was forced to close as water cascaded down, forcing vast swathes of pebbles off the beach on to the concrete promenade and into huts facing the onslaught.

The building's owner, Andy Mexome, said: “It was first built on cans filled with concrete, but we changed it so it's now standing on steel pipes which go into the beach.

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“When these were put in they reached to four metres (13ft 1in) below the level of the beach but now they are only two metres (6ft 6in) below. If erosion continues at this rate the structures which are holding us up won't be there any more and it will be swept away.”

The café's pounding could get even worse with predicted high tides of 4.04metres on Wednesday lunchtime.

Its owner, Steve Bloomfield, said: “I do feel safe although the place really does shake and we've had the occasional person screaming. I'm hoping that a disaster won't happen any time soon.”

Mr Mexome said he hoped Suffolk Costal District Council would implement its plans to raise the level of the beach and added: “We pay a licence to be on the beach but there is less and less beach all the time.”

Although council engineers have said that if the current low beach levels continue parts of Felixstowe's sea wall are at severe risk of at least partial collapse there may not be the money available to tackle to problem.

The council is desperately hoping to spend £10million to avoid a flooding disaster but Whitehall officials have rejected its plea for a grant.

Only last week Andy Smith, deputy leader of the council, said: “The current defences are derelict and we were ready to replace them this May. Government guidelines and announcements over a long period had clearly indicated funding would be available.

“However, in December the government announced its budgets were fully committed so it could not fund any new schemes in 2006/07.”

N What do you think should be done about the threat of coastal erosion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion refers to the loss of landmass into the sea due to waves, winds and tides, or human actions.

Erosion has seen a massive loss of land from Bawdsey where fears have been raised over the speed of the decline

Erosion may cause long-term losses or just temporary redistribution of costal sediments.

The Suffolk town of Dunwich which was a thriving community in the middle ages is now completely underwater due to coastal erosion.

Coastal defence methods designed to prevent erosion include groynes, sea walls, revetments and gabions.

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