Tendring: £36 million sea defence project could lead to ‘renaissance’ of the Clacton area, say councillors

The Clacton to Holland sea defences

The Clacton to Holland sea defences - Credit: Archant

A multi-million pound sea defence scheme along the Tendring coastline will lead to the “renaissance” of the area, councillors say.

Clacton to Holland coastline

Clacton to Holland coastline - Credit: Archant

Plans for the £36 million project – the biggest ever for the district and covering 5kms from Clacton Pier to Holland Haven – was signed off by the Environment Agency on Tuesday.

The agreement means the agency feels the scheme is technically sound and rubber stamps its commitment to contribute £27 million to the project from its flood defence aid budget.

Work is due to start in just over a year and it will involve building fish tail groynes along that section of the coast and also include a massive recharge of sand and stone on the beaches of the area, which has seen its sea walls crumble and beach areas washed away over the past decade.

It is estimated the sea defence, which will take four years to complete, will protect more than 3,000 homes for the next 100 years.

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The additional funds will come from Tendring District Council (TDC) which put up £3million last year and was matched by Essex County Council. A further £1 million is expected to be committed by each authority while another £526,000 was successfully achieved through the Government’s Growth Fund.

Nick Turner, TDC’s cabinet member for environment and coast protection said the agreement represenst a landmark for the district.

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“We have worked incredibly hard with our partners to get where we are today and it really is a dream come true,” he said.

“Even though we have come up with a technically sound scheme which meets all the necessary criteria we didn’t dare believe we would be successful until that signature was on the dotted line.

“It is the news that many residents in Clacton, Holland and Tendring have been waiting for and I cannot wait for the first digger to get to work.”

According to Mr Turner, even though completion of the sea defence is a long way off, thoughts are already turning to how it could give the region’s tourism industry a boost.

He added: “First and foremost the scheme is about flood defence but a by-product of that is we will be able to offer a seafront for the 21st Century.

“We are using the word ‘renaissance’ because we believe this will dramatically increase the area’s tourism offer. With the new recharge we could even create little coves along the beach front - the options are as wide as the imagination and we will be looking all over the world for ideas.”

TDC Leader Peter Halliday said the project would be the second largest coastal protection scheme in the pipeline in the entire country.

“Various schemes have been put forward for this coastline over many years and have got to various stages in their development,” he said.

“But never have we got to the point where the money has been made available to carry out such a massive project and everyone should be ecstatic with this announcement.

Coastal manager for the Environment Agency, Mark Johnson, added: “We are absolutely delighted that it’s full steam ahead for this critically important scheme and look forward to continuing the close relationship that we have developed with Tendring District Council and Essex County Council over the last few years.”

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