SEA DEFENCE experts have defended the railing on a new sea wall.
The Eastern Costal Partnership replaced the sea wall at Hill Head beach after the promenade was deemed unsafe last summer and was closed.
The wall was replaced with an added metal railing which residents were unhappy with at the time of the proposal.
Bill Hutchinson, chairman of the Hill Head Residents’ Association, said: ‘There is no requirement for the polished stainless steel railing and the railing impedes the free movement between the beach huts, the promenade and the beach that was such a valued feature of Hill Head beach life.’
Community groups and residents were invited to consultations on the design of the wall but many expressed concern at the time over the railing.
Bill said: ‘The hidden steel shuttering and large amount of concrete have made a great improvement to the promenade but the railing is a waste of money.’
But during an annual review to the council chiefs from the Eastern Coastal Partnership, who look after the coasts of Fareham, Gosport, Portsmouth, Havant and Hayling Island, told the The News the rail had to be built for health and safety reasons.
Head of the team, Lyall Cairns said: ‘We had to add the rail to the top of the sea wall for health and safety reasons which we were advised of.
‘The other alternative was to make the wall another few feet higher which therefore would have blocked the view from the beach huts.’
The promenade has been closed since the summer of last year whilst the £1m project took place.
The existing gabion basket and concrete bagwork seawalls were removed and the new wall constructed with metal sheet piles for further coastal protection.
Lyall added: ‘We are really happy with this project and it is great that Fareham Borough Council were committed to improving this stretch of coastline.’
Councillor Keith Evans, Fareham Executive Member for Planning and Development said: ‘I’m delighted this project has been completed.
‘The works represent a significant commitment by Fareham Borough Council to maintain and improve this much-loved stretch of our coastline and ensure residents can continue to enjoy it well into the future.’