March 12 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 28, 2014
A 60-metre stretch of Southwold promenade is to reopen within the next two weeks after it was closed amid safety fears.
Significant amounts of sand and shingle from the beach just south of Southwold Pier have been swept away leading to a concrete apron beneath the promenade becoming exposed.
The walkway was fenced off by Waveney District Council last Friday following concerns that people would fall on to the concrete below.
This week, a Waveney spokesman said it was looking in to the possibility of installing a temporary barrier at the edge of the promenade until the beach level was restored.
Keith Roper, coastal officer for Waveney, said the sand and shingle had been eroded by strong southerly winds but previous experience had shown beach levels did normally recover naturally.
He said the beach was a dynamic environment and levels did vary, particularly during the winter.
He added: “We plan to introduce an alternative barrier, which will keep people safe from the drop at the edge of the promenade but also allow access along the promenade
“We will monitor beach levels there and hopefully they will recover and there will be no need for the barrier.”
Southwold mayor Simon Tobin said people could still walk along the length of the beach and climb back on to the promenade once they were beyond the fenced off area.
He said he fully understood why the short stretch of promenade had to be fenced off but added that Southwold residents would not like to see permanent railings there in the future.
Meanwhile, local businesses, including the pier and the boating lake, said they were not concerned by the closure of the promenade and did not think it would have a significant impact.
A Southwold Pier spokesman said: “We appreciate that it is part and parcel of having an iconic coastal attraction like Southwold Pier.”
A Waveney spokesman said: “We are currently discussing the erection of a different fencing system which will open up the prom for access while still protecting people from the drop.
“We are awaiting feedback, however our intention is to ensure this is in place within the next fortnight.
“As for the low beach level it is difficult to recover with little beach material.
“We are in the hands of the elements and need the wind to change.”