Southsea’s collapsed sea wall to be reinforced with 2,000 tonnes of rock

Work on Southsea seafront today after the defences collapsed'Picture: Malcolm Wells
Work on Southsea seafront today after the defences collapsed'Picture: Malcolm Wells
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UP to 2,000 tonnes of rock is to be used to stop a stretch of Southsea’s sea defence wall from collapsing.

Barriers were put up near Clarence Esplanade, at the back of the Pyramids Centre, after a 100m section of wall gave way.

This maintenance work should have been carried out a number of years ago and unfortunately wasn’t a priority at that point for the previous administration

Tory council leader Donna Jones

Council bosses inspected the damage today and say waves crashing over the top have got in the foundations and caused concrete to expand and split the structure. Around 2,000 tonnes of rock will now be brought in to prop up the wall from the beach side to stop further damage. The work is being done ahead of a £117m government programme to rebuild Southsea’s defences, due to begin in around 18 months. Tory council leader Donna Jones said work should have been done years ago to make the defences safer.

But critics have attacked the council for cutting £25,000 from the sea defence maintenance programme when safety is an issue. Cllr Jones said: ‘The collapse of part of the sea defence wall in Southsea is a real concern.

‘This maintenance work should have been carried out a number of years ago and unfortunately wasn’t a priority at that point for the previous administration. I am pleased to confirm we have had a £117m commitment from the Environment Agency to rebuild the sea defences in Southsea.

‘The design and preparation work is under way, and the emergency repairs for this section of the site will be carried out over the next few weeks to ensure it doesn’t deteriorate further. The public should be reminded they should avoid the area of the beach at the back of The Pyramids Centre.’

The council has put in a £6m bid to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to enhance the new defences so they include amphitheatre-style seating and cycle access.

Around £43m is already being spent on the creation of new defences off Eastern Road. Lib Dem leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It seems silly to take £25,000 out, when the old sea defences are vulnerable. We are a city which is flat and parts of it are below the sea level.’

Sea defences have also taken battering on Hayling Island. Sections of the beach at Eastoke were washed away by large waves, which tend to hit the island as there is less protection from the Isle of Wight.