Southwold celebrates end of beach works

The completion of Southwold's £8m coastal defence improvement scheme was celebrated yesterday on the town's rebuilt promenade.Waveney councillors and officials were joined by the Environment Agency to mark the end of 18 months of work to replace groynes, boost the beach level and bolster areas of the sea wall.

The completion of Southwold's £8m coastal defence improvement scheme was celebrated yesterday on the town's rebuilt promenade.

Waveney councillors and officials were joined by the Environment Agency to mark the end of 18 months of work to replace groynes, boost the beach level and bolster areas of the sea wall.

The renovated defences will give added protection to hundreds of homes in Southwold and Reydon, which are threatened by flooding and coastal erosion.

Ken Sale, Waveney's portfolio holder for the built environment, unveiled a commemorative plaque to the south of the pier, framed by reclaimed timbers from the derelict groynes.

He said: “Southwold is a premier tourist attraction and this outstanding scheme has increased the standard of protection for the town, its residents and visitors.

“The scheme has created more opportunities for public enjoyment of the seafront, while not detracting from the character of the town.

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“It has been a complex operation and I would like to acknowledge the support of the wider community who endured some inconvenience and disruption during the construction period.”

Mr Sale also thanked Southwold Town Council and the Waveney lifeguard team for their efforts in communicating the work schedule to the public.

The completion of the work was greeted with relief by businesses in the town, after seeing takings fall last summer as a result of the disruption and closure of large sections of the beach.

Town mayor Teresa Baggott, who runs the Red Lion pub on South Green, said: “It is all looking good. Hopefully the businesses will benefit now after a hard time last year.”

Eight rock groynes were built to the north of the pier and eight wooden groynes were built to the south. Seventy-two thousand cubic metres of dredged sand was also pumped in to raise the level of the beach.

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