Beach is closed due to hazard

PART of a public beach near Clacton has been closed off due to fears that it could pose a danger to bathers.

Roddy Ashworth

PART of a public beach near Clacton has been closed off due to fears that it could pose a danger to bathers.

Falling sand levels have caused metal obstructions to be exposed presenting a serious hazard to swimmers at high tide when they cannot be seen.

The beach affected lies just below Gunfleet Sailing Club at Holland-on-Sea and the decision to close it off was taken by Tendring District Council (TDC) following an inspection this week.

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The situation was initially brought to the attention of the council by the sailing club.

The closure involves about half a bay of beach and does not affect beach hut owners, who are about 100 yards away towards Clacton. The beaches in front of those huts remain open.

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Notices are being put up at the site to warn the public of the situation and to keep them off the beach.

The problems are further evidence of serious problems with sea defences in the area, which last year led to the partial collapse of the sea wall.

A Government plan to spend more than £24million repairing the crumbling defences had been due to start in 2004 but was withdrawn when the criteria for such work changed.

TDC later managed to secure a small amount of funding to “patch up” the ever more precarious defences but has issued numerous pleas to Government for the issue to be properly addressed.

Harry Shearing, portfolio holder for technical and procurement services at TDC, said the council had been left with no other option but to shut the beach at this time.

“The beach at this point has simply not recovered or recharged since the erosion caused by the winter storms,” he said.

“Wire cages with small spiky pieces - which are usually buried in the sand - have been left exposed by the drop in sand levels and could be seriously dangerous to those using the beach.”

Mr Shearing said the action needed to be taken urgently at a time of the year when the beaches are likely to be at their busiest.

He added that the Lower Promenade would not be affected by the closure, just the actual beach itself.

Last summer the council was forced to take a decision to close three or four bays of beach between The Chase and the Esplanade at Holland-on-Sea for the same reasons. Those remain closed to the public as they are still considered dangerous.

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