URGENT calls are being made to start work on a crumbling promenade to prevent more damage.
The sea wall and walkway at Hill Head suffered damage in November and has been deteriorating ever since.
Fareham Borough Council, which is responsible for the wall, put up a fence to stop people walking across it, and it has been working with the East Solent Coastal Partnership to come up with a plan – but repair work has not yet started.
Bill Hutchison, chairman of Hill Head Residents’ Association, is now calling for urgent action to be taken, and for more money to be invested in to future maintenance, especially after seeing how quickly work started to repair Southsea’s sea wall when it was damaged last month.
He said: ‘The sea wall at Hill Head is and has been for years Fareham’s responsibility and it is up to Fareham to have a contingency fund to deal with this type of emergency quickly to stop further deterioration.
‘The groynes should be properly maintained and thin wire-covered gabions are not suitable for use as a sea wall.’
Mr Hutchison said the association urged the council to take immediate action to fill the hole on the top of the promenade as soon as it appeared to ‘stop the waves treating it like a plughole and undermining the seawall’.
He added: ‘If you compare photographs taken on November 30 and December 31, you can see that we were right to urge the council to take immediate action.
‘The sea wall is now probably beyond a temporary repair and any repair will cost a great deal more than rapid action would have cost at the time.’
Fareham’s council leader Sean Woodward said that work, costing about £250,000, is due to start next week.
He said the cost would have to be paid by the council as no homes are at risk in Hill Head, unlike in Southsea, meaning the authority could not apply for funding from the Environment Agency.
Cllr Woodward also said that repair work had not started sooner as a plan was being created.
He said: ‘It is not a simple job as the scheme needs to be designed so it lasts. If we just simply piled a load of rocks in front of it, it would not last.
‘A proper job needs to be done and that cannot be planned overnight. I want to find the money and I want to fix it.
‘We will fix it but I want a plan in place to fix it properly and not just a patch job. It will need major repairs as we need to make it as permanent repair as we can.’