Cash boost for Suffolk coastal defences

THE Environment Agency is to spend £1.5million on protecting a vulnerable stretch of coast near a Martello tower.The agency will carry out two phases of work at the East Lane sea defences, north of the inhabited Martello tower at Bawdsey, near Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

THE Environment Agency is to spend £1.5million on protecting a vulnerable stretch of coast near a Martello tower.

The agency will carry out two phases of work at the East Lane sea defences, north of the inhabited Martello tower at Bawdsey, near Woodbridge.

Up to 27,000 tonnes of rock will be used in the scheme - it is hoped work will start next month - and the project has been given the go-ahead by Suffolk Coastal District Council.


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Philip Ridley, head of planning services at Suffolk Coastal, said: “The proposed development involves the deposit of additional rock armour to strengthen and enlarge the area protected by existing rock armour around the East Lane World War II defences.

“It will place rock structures further out than the existing and extend the area protected further south to provide protection to the Martello tower and adjacent house.”

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He said a significant proportion of the work would be undertaken from the sea and the design life for the flood defence work was 10 to 20 years.

The tower is owned by John and Suzanne Fell-Clark who have anxiously monitored erosion south of their ancient property for many years. Their building is only 10 metres from the edge of a cliff.

There are three other towers between Bawdsey and Shingle Street and they would also be vulnerable if East Lane flood defences failed.

Mr Fell-Clark said: “We are delighted that the Environment Agency has finally been able to find a way to put these works in progress.

“They have been planned for years and they have found a way without using grant aid from Defra.

“Although all the work qualified under the Defra criteria, there was no money.

“The Environment Agency has found money from last year's and this year's budget and I understand that plant could possibly be coming on site at the end of this month, with work starting in July.”

Last year 14 metres of land south of his tower were eroded in only eight months before the winter.

Mr Fell-Clark added: “I think we were very, very fortunate last winter. There was erosion but it could have been a lot worse.

“However, the planned works do not solve our problem which is that they do not rebuild the emergency works in front of the tower.”

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