Damaged timber sea defences at Hayling Island spark beach erosion fears
TIMBER sea defences battered by back-to-back storms are being removed over safety fears.
Engineers are removing the mid-1970s revetments at West Beach, Hayling Island, after high winds and rain from Storms Ciara and Dennis left large holes in them.
Groynes to the west of the revetments will remain in place.
Both defences were only designed to last 25 years.
Dave Parham, chairman of the Save Our Island group, said: ‘This means that we're now going to see the erosion of West Beach continue at an accelerating rate.
‘We will probably within a year see another 50m of the beach eroded north, which will put the road and the housing north of the road at much higher risk.
'The Inn on the Beach could possibly become uneconomical. If left it will eventually become an island and will then fall into the sea.'
He added: 'It's clear the revetment has to be removed as it's a danger to the public. But the fact that the council have done nothing in terms of a short or long-term solution is a disgrace.’
Representatives from the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership told a meeting of the Hayling Island Residents' Association the defences could survive two to five years.
Metres of West Beach have been eroded since defunct revetments were removed three years ago.
A council flood and erosion risk management strategy for Hayling Island will not be ready for at least two years.
Councillor Michael Wilson, leader of Havant Borough Council, said: ‘I want to reassure our residents and visitors that we closely monitored the situation at Hayling Island over the weekend as Storm Dennis hit.
‘We took proactive action on Friday and cordoned off an area around one of the coastal defences. This was hammered by the storm and is now damaged and failing – so we will need to remove it.
‘We will be developing the long-term plan for this area of our coast and ensuring that it is line with our exciting regeneration strategy.’
Council officers are assessing the future of beach huts on the stretch.
Dozens have historically been removed from West Beach because of flood and storm dangers.
South Hayling's beach fared better during the storms.
Some debris washed up and is being cleared.