Fareham and Gosport councils seek cash for £47m coastal plans

A MULTIMILLION-POUND plan has been drawn up to protect thousands of homes from coastal flooding.

Friday, 27th May 2016, 6:35 am
Updated Friday, 27th May 2016, 3:38 pm
Tony Pepper, 69, left, who owns a beach hut at Hill Head and Bill Hutchison, 73, chairman of Hill Head Residents Association. Picture: Sarah Standing (160498-5934)

The Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership has developed a coastal management plan which covers from the River Hamble to Portchester.

The £47m strategy was created on behalf of Gosport and Fareham borough councils and will protect 2,800 homes from the risk of coastal flooding and erosion.

It has been signed off by the Environment Agency and funding will now be sought.

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Councillor Ingeborg Forder, who is responsible for coastal issues at Gosport council, said: ‘I’ve been very impressed by the professionalism and expertise of the ESCP and their project team.

‘Having the plan in place now opens up the opportunity to bid for funding for the future protection of our coastline which, if successful, will be hugely beneficial to the residents of Gosport.’

The plans outline measures that are predicted to prevent more than £700m of damage over the next 100 years.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport council, added: ‘An application for a grant has already been submitted to the Environment Agency for three priority coastal schemes in Gosport.

‘These are likely to be eligible for 100 per cent government funding, however it cannot be guaranteed and we may be challenged to raise external funding.’

Fareham councillor Keith Evans, who is executive member for strategic planning and environment at the council, said it would have to think ‘creatively’ to come up with some of the funding.

‘The development of this strategy for the Fareham shoreline has improved of our understanding of coastal flood and erosion risk,’ he said.

‘We now have to think creatively about how we secure contributions and funding to ensure the plan’s recommendations are delivered.’

Recently residents at Hill Head have been worried after sea defences there were damaged – several beach hut owners have said that repair works were ‘a bodge job’.