Completed £36million sea defence project in Clacton could be catalyst for town’s regeneration

Emma Howard-Boyd, vice-chair of the Environment Agency with David Finch, leader of the Essex County

Emma Howard-Boyd, vice-chair of the Environment Agency with David Finch, leader of the Essex County Council unveiling a plaque officially opening Tendring's �36m sea defence scheme. - Credit: Su Anderson

A £36million project stretching 5km along Essex’s coastline was officially opened yesterday after being completed early and under budget.

The flood defence scheme which runs from Clacton to Holland-on-Sea will protect more than 3,000 homes and businesses for the next 100 years.

It has also created 23 new beaches and there are hopes the project could act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the towns’ seafront areas.

Part of the work involved shipping rocks to Essex from Norway to create fish-tail groynes, with one of them being unveiled yesterday to mark the completion of the scheme.

The unveiling was carried out by Emma Howard-Boyd, deputy chairman of the Environment Agency (EA), Neil Stock, leader of Tendring District Council (TDC) and David Finch, leader of Essex County Council (ECC).

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Nick Turner, cabinet member for coastal protection and seafronts at Tendring District Council, said the project was about breathing new life into the seafront.

“Between us we have managed to create a piece of new England and it is a truly outstanding achievement all-round,” he said.

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“To have carried this off in less than 18 months and under budget is better than we could have hoped for and is a measure of the hard work and effort of so many people.”

Mr Stock said: “The various partners all dug deep into their diminishing pockets to ensure that this exciting and long-awaited scheme could proceed.

“With the money and permissions in place it was then down to those on the ground to deliver and they have certainly done that and more. The feedback we have had so far has all been extremely positive.”

David Finch, the leader of Essex County Council, said the scheme was “a shining example of partnership working at its best” while flooding minister Rory Stewart said Britain’s coastal communities were some of the country’s most precious assets.

Lucinda Gilfoyle, Anglian Water coastal catchments manager, said: “We are working hard along the Essex coast and investing millions of pounds, not only to tackle flooding issues but also to identify sources of pollution.

“It’s great to see so many organisations working together to ensure Clacton remains a great place to live and a fantastic resort for visitors.”

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