A CONTROVERSIAL sea wall has been given the green light by councillors – despite objections from residents and beach hut owners.
The reconstruction of 150 metres of sea wall at Hill Head was approved at the recent meeting of Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee.
The promenade, which runs for about five miles from the Meon Road chalets to the Fort at Gilkicker, currently has no walls and railings between the promenade and beach, providing a vista that Hill Head residents say they would like to keep in place.
Damage was caused to the wall last year, when the shingle beach moved away to the east, which led to the council repairing wooden groynes and replacing shingle, which residents say is enough.
But the East Solent Coastal Partnership said a seawall that is two foot higher than the promenade, with a two foot high railing on top of it, is now necessary to protect the site from future damage and to meet health and safety requirements.
Bill Hutchison, from the Hill Head Residents Association, said: ‘The users do not want it. The beach hut owners will be sitting down in front of their huts with a wall and railing between them and the beach, the sailing club don’t want it because the beginners classes held there sit on top of the existing wall and the Residents’ Association don’t like it because it will alter the whole ambiance of the open promenade and it will restrict the open access to the beach that visitors like so much. The residents’ association believe Fareham Council and the ESCP are wrong.’
However the planning committee voted to allow the work to take place – with two councillors objecting.
Chairman of the committee Nick Walker said: ‘It is a million pound scheme that the council does not have to undertake.
‘It is critical that the scheme went ahead now, if it didn’t then the scheme could be lost – leaving the beach huts, promenade and other properties vulnerable.
‘The ESCP has created a scheme that the residents think is over engineered but in fact, it is for 50 to 100 years time, it takes into account rising tide levels and health and safety issues.’