AN area of the Suffolk coast will be monitored for the next four weeks to ensure that almost 2,000 bags of sand and shingle are doing their job to protect the shoreline.

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Contractors are now on site in Thorpeness after inspections showed a need for some minor repairs, modifications and additional works to the defences put in place last year.

Most of the funding for the original works came from the Environment Agency, with the remainder coming from Suffolk Coastal District Council and local people.

J Breheny Contractors Ltd carried out the work, which saw 1,856 bags being laid eight to ten layers deep over one-and-a-half square miles of “geo-fabric”, creating a 600ft toe-shaped structure to support to the existing rock-filled wire basket bank.

Contractors are back to stiffen up some of the wire cages following the displacement of stones, particularly at the southern end.

Andy Smith, cabinet member for coastal protection, said: “We have carefully monitored the effectiveness of the defences, and we have identified some modifications and additions that should improve its long-term effectiveness.”

The council has also agreed to spend £30,000 topping up the original gabions – wire baskets filled with rocks – that were put in place during 1976.

The opportunity will also be taken to improve access to the beach, which will include clearing some of the existing vegetation around Benthills and putting in a timber edge shingle footpath connecting the beach to the existing track. A gate will also be erected across the footpath outside Stella Maris.

While the works are under way, part of the beach will be fenced off as a temporary compound, and people are asked to stay out of the area.

Because of the time of the year, with early spring tides dictating access to the site, the work started at 1am today but will recommence at least 30 minutes later each day as the tide times change.

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