New group set up to consider Portsmouth sea defences plan

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. Picture: Malcolm WellsCouncillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. Picture: Malcolm Wells
A NEW cross-party group will collaborate to protect Southsea from rising sea levels, the leader of Portsmouth City Council has said.

Two weeks into his new position, Lib Dem Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson announced plans to bring councillors from all parties together to work on sea defence plans.

He said: ‘The sea defences are going to be here for 100 years and at the moment there are 8,000 homes in Southsea that are at risk of flooding.

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‘It is really important that we get as much cross-party involvement as possible, so I am setting up a group to work on this to make sure we have everybody’s ideas.

Gerald Vernon-JacksonGerald Vernon-Jackson
Gerald Vernon-Jackson

‘It is also absolutely key that the public is involved in the process. That is why I want to make sure there is as much consultation as possible.

The group will work alongside the Southsea coastal scheme and hold public consultations until a final design, which is predicted to cost up to £100m, is approved.

This news comes after the council debunked claims that the proposed sea defences would fail.

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Campaigners voiced fears that plans for the seafront, from Long Curtain Moat to Eastney Barracks, were similar to failing terraced defences on the Lancashire coast.

This caused concern with many who claimed the defences at Southsea had been modelled after those in Cleveleys, a small town near Blackpool.

Walter Menteth, lecturer in architecture at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘The information made available to the public was a very similar design to what has been used at Cleveleys. Cleveleys is showing that the predicted performance is not working as projected.’

Guy Mason, city coastal manager, said: ‘Our designs are not being based on the sea defences at Cleveleys.

‘This is because the coastline at Cleveleys is completely different, with a much bigger tidal range (nine metres compared to 5.5 metres in Southsea).’