Petition demands council to put up temporary Hayling Island sea defences amid fears of 'massive erosion'

ALMOST 3,000 people have backed a petition calling on councillors to fork out for interim sea defences after it was announced revetments damaged by storms would be removed.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 2:42 pm
Updated Friday, 28th February 2020, 12:40 pm

Havant Borough Council said last week the battered defences at West Beach, Hayling Island, were to be pulled out amid public safety fears.

They were breached by storms five days after Eastern Solent Coastal Partnerships figures told residents they could last as long as five years.

Residents now worry ‘massive erosion' will claim the beach unless interim measures are put in place before the council unveils a full defence strategy in two years’ time.

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Beach replenishment at Hayling Island West Beach. Brian Bracher/Compass Aerial Photography

It comes as the dynamic of the beach is changed as shingle is moved from nearby Gunner Point to Eastoke in a defence replenishment scheme.

Hayling Island campaigner Mike Owens, 60, has received the backing of more than 2,700 in a petition to the council.

‘The council have clearly recognised they need a coastal protection strategy and they said they are just about to start that,' he said.

‘But the thing is it’s going to take two years – then they have to find fund it, plan it, schedule it and do it. That could take five years.

Beach replenishment at Hayling Island West Beach. Brian Bracher/Compass Aerial Photography

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‘Erosion is going to keep happening in the meantime, the Inn on the Beach could be undermined by the sea and the stretch from the funfair to Hayling Golf Club will be under threat.

‘The petition I have created is to say, well, you need a couple of years, but you better stop the situation getting worse today because your strategy will not address the threat of tomorrow if it only takes a snapshot of today.'

Flood water got as far north as Ferry Road after Storms Ciara and Dennis, submerging parts of Hayling Golf Club and the Beachlands Par 3 Golf Course.

The sea defences at West Beach, Hayling Island, set to be taken up after being battered during Storm Dennis. Picture: Dave Parham/Save Our Island

Councillor Michael Wilson, leader of Havant Borough Council, said: ‘I want to reassure our residents and visitors that we are closely monitoring the situation at West Beach, Hayling Island.

‘The council’s policy since 1997, which is based on land use and coastal processes, is not to replace timber structures and to remove them when they are considered unsafe.

‘It is agreed that constructing new defences at the cost of millions of pounds is not appropriate in this location. Central government funding is only available if it protects coastlines where there is a threat to property or life.

Beach replenishment at Hayling Island West Beach. Brian Bracher/Compass Aerial Photography

‘We are currently working with the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership to replenish sea defences at Eastoke, Hayling Island to continue to reduce the risk of flooding for 1,700 properties.’

To view or sign the petition, go to change.org/p/havant-borough-council-immediate-revision-of-hayling-island-coastal-defence-policy

Beach replenishment at Hayling island West Beach. Brian Bracher/Compass Aerial Photography
Beach replenishment at Hayling Island West Beach. Brian Bracher/Compass Aerial Photography