Harbour wall danger probe

JONATHAN REDHEAD About £75,000 should be spent on a specialist to carry out a condition survey and checks on a dangerous harbour wall in Southwold, a new report says.For years, the condition of the North Harbour Wall in the town has been deteriorating and has actually moved towards the River Blyth by two inches in the past five years.

JONATHAN REDHEAD

About £75,000 should be spent on a specialist to carry out a condition survey and checks on a dangerous harbour wall in Southwold, a new report says.

For years, the condition of the North Harbour Wall in the town has been deteriorating and has actually moved towards the River Blyth by two inches in the past five years.

Now, a report to Waveney District Council's executive says the wall “is potentially in a dangerous condition” and something needs to be done to prevent it from collapsing.

However, it is believed repairs could cost in excess of £1m and the report says specialist work needs to be carried out to decide what to do next.

Earlier this year, a warning was issued about the wall after it was revealed the local lifeboat had been called out 18 times in four years to rescue dogs and occasionally owners, who had fallen into the river from the wall.

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And the report says it is impossible to tell when the wall, which is about a century old, could collapse.

“If the current approach continues, with no action taken, the wall, or sections of it, will eventually fall into the river,” the report says.

“It is not possible to predict the timing of collapse; this could be imminent or occur in five or ten years time, with the risk increasing with time.”

“The public have uncontrolled access up to the river wall. Should the wall collapse there is a chance that any person in the affected area could end up in the river with the potential for loss of life through drowning or falling debris,” the report continues.

Cars are also allowed to park to within two metres of the wall, and the report suggests that barriers are installed an extra five metres from the wall to prevent pedestrian access and stop vehicles getting so close to the edge.

The report also reveals that one and a quarter million pounds has been set aside for the last fifteen years to deal with the wall.

But the report asks the executive for £75,000 for a specialist to start work and assess the wall.

“It is therefore proposed that a specialist contractor/consultant be appointed to consider the options, along with costs and cost benefit analysis, for members to consider, that £75,000 from the capital programme be committed to enable this to happen and for interim safety works to be implemented,” the report says.

Members of the executive meet on Thursday at Lowestoft town hall to discuss the report.