Sea defence collapse sparks urgent talks

URGENT talks are to be held after a large section of a village's sea defences collapsed into the sea.Even temporary measures to shore up the sea wall at Holland-on-Sea will cost around £350,000, it has been estimated.

URGENT talks are to be held after a large section of a village's sea defences collapsed into the sea.

Even temporary measures to shore up the sea wall at Holland-on-Sea will cost around £350,000, it has been estimated.

A 60 metre section of the wall and lower promenade collapsed opposite Queensway last month and experts fear more of the structure could soon succumb to the ravages of the North Sea.

The area has been cordoned off to the public and engineers have been working on designing a scheme to tackle the immediate problem.


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Now representatives of Tendring District Council, who are seeking financial help with the cost of repairing the wall, have met with Harwich MP Douglas Carswell to highlight the serious damage being caused.

Meanwhile, Essex county councillors Tracey Chapman and Ray Howard, a member of the Regional Flood Defence Committee, have made an inspection of the site of the collapse and were shown other vulnerable areas of sea defence.

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Mrs Chapman, a cabinet member at County Hall, said she recognised it was a serious issue which needed to be addressed.

“It is quite clear that this is a Government responsibility and Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) need to understand that if it does not fund proper sea defences along the coast we will lose not only a huge regeneration asset, we will lose a road, expensive drainage and public confidence,” she said.

“The saddest thing is that families won't be able to come and enjoy the beach which is being reclaimed by the sea.”

Both she and Mr Howard promised to return to County Hall and hold urgent talks with colleagues about the situation.

Following the inspection council officials also met with Mr Carswell who promised to back the council's efforts to seek funding.

“The situation at Holland-on-Sea is worse than I thought and I am concerned that other areas along the coastline are also at risk,” he said.

“We have to consider the best way to get the Government to meet its responsibilities and I will do whatever I can as this should not be a town hall problem.”

Harry Shearing, portfolio holder for technical services at the council, said the current damage could have been avoided if a previously agreed £24million project had gone ahead.

It had been due to start in 2004 but was shelved when the Government changed its priorities to flood defences in rivers and estuaries, he added.

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