Repairs to Southwold Harbour coastal defences could cost £1.1million

Repair work to Southwold Harbour's coastal defences will be considered this week Picture: RACHEL FARROW/NEWZULU.COM

Repair work to Southwold Harbour's coastal defences will be considered this week Picture: RACHEL FARROW/NEWZULU.COM - Credit: Rachel Farrow

Work to repair Southwold Harbour’s north pier could cost up to £1.1million, according to new council reports.

East Suffolk Council’s cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday night to agree a budget for repair work to part of Southwold Harbour’s defences.

Concerns have been raised about the pier fender on the north side of the mouth of the Blyth estuary.

The fender is used both to protect vessels in the area and to manage coastal erosion. It has been repaired many times in recent years.

In 1992, the structure was substantially rebuilt to help reduce wave energy in the area and protect ships.

Further significant repairs took place in 2008.

Since then, a number of surveys on the structure have found that substantial work needs to take place.

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Without the fender being complete, there are concerns that vessels could run aground on rocks.

This work had been due to take place in 2018, but queries over the pricing of the repairs meant the opportunity for the work was missed.

East Suffolk Council put the work out to tender again in early 2020.

However, the process was affected by the coronavirus pandemic and led to only two potential bidders coming forward - both of which the council dismissed as being over budget.

Now, however, the council is hoping to get the project moving again by meeting with the previous bidders to discuss carrying out the work early next year.

The council had initially set out £400,000 from coastal management funds to pay for the work but is now set to allocate a further £700,000 to complete the work.

Of this money, £530,000 will come from its capital budget and the remaining £170,000 coming from reserves from coastal management reserves.

The council hopes to offset some of the cost of the work with a potential grant from the Environment Agency of around £250,000, which it intends to apply for in the next few months.

If the budget is agreed at Tuesday’s meeting, work on repairing the fender area could begin as early as February - once a marine consultation has taken place.

However, council officers have recommended that the work is delayed until spring, to help reduce potential costs.

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