Clacton: £36m coast defence scheme to take just 18 months to complete
A £36million sea defence scheme which councillors hope will bring investment worth millions to Tendring will be completed in half the time expected.
Work on the project along the Holland-on-Sea coastline is due to begin next month and be finished by the end of 2015 - half of the original three-year estimate.
The announcement was made as representatives of Tendring district and Essex county councils signed the contract with construction firm VBA Joint Venture, along with ongoing project managers Mott MacDonald.
VBA Joint Venture beat two rival bids for the contract.
As well as protecting more than 3,000 homes and businesses along a 5km stretch of coastline for the next 100 years, the series of fishtail groynes will create 22 mini beaches.
Councillor Nick Turner, responsible for environment and coast protection at Tendring District Council (TDC), said: “It’s absolutely marvellous that the project will be done so quickly. Everything is being done as soon as possible to minimise disruption and maximise opportunities.
“We will provide with this scheme and infrastructure for the British seafront holiday as a 21st Century pursuit, not harking back two centuries.
“I hope to get sponsors for each of the groynes, so people can meet at the ‘Anglian Water’ or ‘NHS’ beach, for example.
“We have already seen investment by the pier, and this will provide investment opportunities along the whole seafront.
“We don’t know exactly how it will evolve, but we will have laid down the template to allow it to happen. That’s our job as councillors, to create an environment for commerce - and for people to enjoy, relax and grow.
“I am over the moon.”
The project has been funded with £3million each from the district and county councils, with an extra £1m expected from both authorities, which in turn unlocked a £27m grant from the Environment Agency’s flood defence fund and £512,000 from the Government’s growth fund.
John Jowers, county councillor for communities and planning, added: “Partnership working is the name of the game now.
“Staycations are really coming up now and Essex is beautiful, I genuinely think that, plus there is plenty for people to do here and families feel safe here.
“Here in Clacton there is good plain tourism, with sun, sea, sand and decent beaches, and we should be promoting it.
“For all the talk about investment we tend to forget about the people who make a living out of this, such as in hotels, restaurants and shops.
“It is like a kaleidoscope with all the different elements coming together - there is no point having business without infrastructure, or having business if you won’t allow them to build.”