Sea defences smashed by waves

A SUFFOLK council has issued an urgent call for more funding after its sea defences were smashed by violent tides over the weekend - creating a huge crack in the concrete along the promenade.

A SUFFOLK council has issued an urgent call for more funding after its sea defences were smashed by violent tides over the weekend - creating a huge crack in the concrete along the promenade.

Around 50 metres of wall close to the Shore Break café in Felixstowe failed and four other sections were damaged during a period of blustery and stormy weather.

The wall has bowed outwards in two sections and the materials behind it that support the promenade have also been washed out leaving a one metre wide stretch of the prom without any support.

The breach has led to fresh calls for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to supply more money to improve fortifications along Felixstowe's south seafront.


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Suffolk Coastal District Council previously warned Defra the walls were in danger of collapse but were told the £5million they were expecting for improvements was no longer available.

Andy Smith, deputy council leader and cabinet member for coast protection, said: “This weekend's events have proved we were not crying wolf and defence works are urgently required.

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“We took immediate action to cordon off 90 metres of the promenade where it was dangerous for pedestrians.

“Concrete blocks have been placed against the bowed sea wall to try and stave off any further damage and we will monitor the situation after every high tide.

“The council has already had equipment on site to shore up the sea wall and we will be looking this week at bringing in rocks to help build up the defences.

“However, these are only stop-gap measures that at best will provide temporary relief. We must get the Government's funding to proceed with the planned permanent defence works.”

Suffolk Coastal had been planning to replace the derelict defences at the southern end of Felixstowe but in December Whitehall chiefs announced there was no money available for new projects in 2006/07.

Mr Smith continued: “We warned the current state of the sea defences is such that there was a major risk they could not withstand a serious storm without damage.

“We gave them [Defra] a strong case for why £5m must be made available but the scheme remains in peril because of the Government's failure to increase its budget.”

A spokesman for Defra said: “The district council should approach Defra again and inform it of any change of circumstances that may have taken place.

“It can then reassess the situation if the threat appears to be higher than it was.”

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