How new sea defences in Southsea will retain part of the city's history

A PART of the city’s history will be retained in new sea defences that are set to protect homes and businesses from flooding for the next 100 years.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:20 pm

Southsea’s new defences will closely resemble the historic Long Curtain Moat area, which is currently being worked on, using stone that matches the original seawalls.

Following approval from Historic England granite will be used for the defence's apron (sloped revetment wall) and Purbeck limestone will be used for the wall cladding west of Spur Redoubt.

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Southsea's new sea defences will closely resemble the historic Long Curtain Moat area.

It comes after more than a year of consultation and testing of materials to ensure the new design was sympathetic to the historic area, with one of the challenges faced to match the new stones to the original seawall quarry source.

Southsea Coastal Scheme project director, Guy Mason, said: ‘To ensure the best possible match, we tested samples of the original wall to identify the minerals it was made up of - a process known as petrographic testing.

‘We then investigated quarries to see which stone would be satisfactory to Historic England, being mindful that the stone also had to meet the technical specification of the design to last 100 years.

‘In sourcing a matching stone, we have been sympathetic to the fact we're covering up existing walls and we have strived to replicate the original walls while reducing visual impact on the scheme.’

Southsea's new sea defences will closely resemble the historic Long Curtain Moat area.

An Historic England spokesman added: ‘Historic England is confident that the finished product will achieve the aim of creating a sensitive, modern representation of the historic wall.

‘The design for the new walls strikes the fine balance of being considerate of the historic environment whilst delivering on the hugely important role it will play in defending Southsea from major flood events.

‘Through the use of high quality materials, the new walls will respect - but stand apart from - the adjacent historic structures as their own entity.’

As reported, the coastal scheme team was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the 2021 Construction Excellence SECBE Awards for its work to restore Long Curtain Moat.

The Southsea Coastal Scheme will stretch from Long Curtain Moat to Eastney and will cost around £100m. It is thought the whole project will be completed by 2026.

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