Major scheme to repair part of Lowestoft’s south beach could start in the autumn
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A £1.5 million scheme of major works to repair damage to parts of Lowestoft's erosion-hit south beach could begin in the autumn.
With Lowestoft's award-winning south beach under severe pressure from a combination of coastal erosion and damage from the aftermath of December's tidal surge, cabinet members of Waveney District Council met tonight (Tuesday) to vote unanimously in favour of six options to progress vital works.
And at a full council meeting of Waveney tomorrow, proposals for the major works to be carried out in the autumn to avoid failure of the sea wall look set to be ratified.
This will mean that those parts of the beach that are presently closed will not be improved in time for the busy summer season – and it's likely that some sections will remain closed and off-limits to the public for some months to come.
David Ritchie, Waveney's cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said that the part of Lowestoft south beach, which runs from the harbour south pier to Parade Road South, was under 'high and increasing erosion pressure that requires action to reduce the risk of damage to the promenade.'
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He said that while '80pc of the beach' was still open, this £1.5m priority scheme was important given the 'serious problems' in the Children's Corner area.
Mr Ritchie said that a study had been commissioned by the council's coastal management team, and this was carried out by consultants who found 'several issues' that needed to be addressed – with the study identifying 'critical beach levels below which the sea wall will be at significant risk of collapse.'
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With the findings of the study finding 'several possible approaches' that needed immediate action, Mr Ritchie said that these would be followed by 'ongoing management of the beach,' with long-term 'improvement works' to the beach facilities costing 'about £5m.'
Council leader Colin Law said: 'We have to realise that if we don't do the works, the old sea wall – which I believe goes back to the 1870s – is very much at risk.'
Cabinet members all voted in support of the six recommendations – which includes the 'preferred' £1.5m scheme being identified and 'more extensive future works being advanced through 2014/15' – tonight, with Waveney's full council set to meet tomorrow to discuss the recommendation that 'subject to grant funding, the council's capital programme be amended to incorporate delivery of the preferred option commencing in 2014/15.'