Unique coastal erosion trial gets go ahead for Felixstowe in bid to save beach huts

Locations for the beach hut trial on Felixstowe beach. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Locations for the beach hut trial on Felixstowe beach. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

Plans for an innovative solution to protect beach huts from coastal erosion in Felixstowe have been given the green light for a trial of up to a year.

Some of the 55 huts stranded on Felixstowe prom since losing their beach sites due to erosion Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Some of the 55 huts stranded on Felixstowe prom since losing their beach sites due to erosion Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL - Credit: Archant

East Suffolk Council’s planning south committee unanimously approved a trial for two bays outside the Spa Pavilion to be configured as beach hut platforms.

One bay will be build up with sand to create an ordinary platform at the height the beach huts are usually placed, and act as a benchmark for how sand and shingle normally moves with the tides and weather.

A second bay adjacent to it will be constructed with an experimental design featuring a concrete retaining wall of interlocking concrete blocks propping up a levelled-off sandbank between the wall and the promenade.

MORE: Radical engineering solution sought for Felixstowe beach hutsIt is hoped that it will provide a solution in which 55 beach huts can return to their beach position, having been standing on the promenade for two years after erosion of the sand forced the council to take action.

Felixstowe councillor Stuart Bird said the plans would help safeguard the tourism industry in the town. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Felixstowe councillor Stuart Bird said the plans would help safeguard the tourism industry in the town. Picture: SIMON PARKER

The trial will be in place for no more than a year, and if successful will then be followed up with a further planning application for the rest of the huts to adopt the same solution with an eye to returning in the 2022 season.

Felixstowe councillor Stuart Bird said: “It seems like an eminently sensible trial.

“The beach huts in Felixstowe are an important part of the tourist offering and also provide valuable income for the council, so it’s important to secure their long term future.”

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Fellow Felixstowe councillor Mike Deacon said it was a “very welcome plan”.

The council has previously stressed that the current line of beach huts on the promenade is not a long term solution.

According to East Suffolk Council, the solution being trialled is not one that has been used at other beaches before.

The interlocking concrete blocks can be reused and stored, and are tailor-made for the purpose of the trial.

Planning officer Rachel Lambert said: “Opportunities to retain the siting of beach huts within this location with access to the beach and enhancing the use of the promenade is in line with the overall strategy for Felixstowe.

“The proposal plays a part in alleviating coastal erosion and will continue to be carefully overseen through the partnership with the coastal management team.”

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