Sand dunes and sea wall defence ruled out

How sand dunes could look as a flood defence in Southsea
How sand dunes could look as a flood defence in Southsea

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AN ARCHITECT who wants to see sand dunes brought in to Southsea to act as sea defences says he is disappointed that the city council is not going to pursue the idea.

Walter Menteth has produced several ideas for the future of the seafront, which he and several others would like to see incorporated into sea defence work planned in the next few years.

At a private meeting of Portsmouth City Council on Friday, he gave a presentation about what dunes could bring to the front.

But he says he feels that despite talk of a consultation, the council has already made its mind up.

Mr Menteth says the decision was disappointing.

He said: ‘It was a somewhat difficult meeting. What became clear is the plans are a foregone conclusion.

‘To me, the consultation is merely to tick a box – Lyall Cairns from the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership stated that the experts discarded my alternative, but none of the experts were actually at the meeting.

‘Portsmouth City Council and ESCP need to take more notice of alternatives and explore them as they go forward.

‘The lack of validity from just one plan could hinder their chances of getting money from the government.’

Councillor Linda Symes says that the decision about the sand dunes was made with universal confidence.

She said: ‘Several experts have discarded the idea of sand dunes – all saying that it simply would not work.

‘That being said, we are thankful for submitted ideas from people such as Mr Menteth, and look forward to seeing more ideas when the consultation period begins.

‘Everyone wants what is best for Southsea – we just need to work out what that is.’

The subject of sea defences has been one of controversy in the past, with fears raised that a 4m wall could be built along the front – although this idea has been dismissed by the council.

Speaking on behalf of the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust, Celia Clark added: ‘Detailed discussion at this early design stage is essential – the council and ESCP must listen to the concerns of local people’.