Last Clacton beaches to re-open after £36m sea defence project

New beach at Clacton

New beach at Clacton - Credit: Archant

The last six beaches being created as part of a £36million sea defence scheme for Clacton are due to be completed on Friday.

A total of 23 new scalloped beaches have been formed along a five kilometre stretch of coastline between Holland-on-Sea and Clacton as part of the project.

Many have been re-opened to the public as they have been completed, with the final six set to be handed over by the contractors to Tendring District Council on Friday.

Financed by the district council, Essex County Council and the Environment Agency, the work is being carried out by VBA Joint Venture Limited.

The defences will protect more than 3,000 homes and businesses for the next 100 years.

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It is also hoped the scheme, which has created the new shaped beaches, will act as a renaissance of the seafront and draw in more visitors to the towns.

Nick Turner, councillor for coastal protection at Tendring District Council, said the whole scheme had been carried out with a minimum of disruption considering its size and has proved very popular.

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He said: “It is a credit to our contractors, the council team and all of our partners that we are in a position where all the new beaches will be back in use by this time.

“I have hailed this as the creation of a piece of New England of more than three miles and it is a truly fantastic achievement.

“The public will have access to the entire area by the weekend and I am sure they will enjoy the addition to our coastline for many years to come.”

Mr Turner added the feedback from residents and visitors had been very positive and the project has attracted a massive amount of interest.

Roger Hirst, county councillor for planning and the environment, said: “I am delighted this project has run so smoothly and has reached each milestone ahead of schedule.

“The early opening of all 23 new beaches is a great achievement and will ensure the local community can continue to enjoy this protected coastline for many more years to come.”

All relevant beach hut owners have been informed they will be able to get to their huts once again.

An official opening ceremony to mark the completion of the scheme will be held later this year.

The work, which began in June 2014, was carried out in two phases.

A third phase, looking at shoring up cliffs along the sea front, is now being considered with funding from Anglian Water.

If it goes ahead work is expected to start in the 2016/17 financial year.

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