Urgent repairs launched after huge chunk of Southsea's seafront promenade collapses

URGENT repair work has been launched to shore up a crumbling stretch of seafront promenade after its shock collapse.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:43 pm
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 10:49 am

A large section of pavement along Southsea’s seafront promenade, near the city’s naval memorial, has caved-in leaving a gaping hole in the walkway.

Portsmouth City Council scrambled to begin emergency repair work last week after a portion of the wall was damaged during the bad weather.

However, a large portion of pavement has since caved in, revealing the true scale of the damage to the wall to the public for the first time.

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Temporary repairs will be completed tomorrow. Meanwhile, a further scheme to enhance the sea defences across Southsea is hoped to begin next year. Photo: Portsmouth City Council

A council spokeswoman said: ‘Strong winds and high tides in late November resulted in damage to the seawall by the naval memorial but what couldn't be seen was how the bad weather had undermined the foundations the promenade sits upon. This has now been revealed after a section of the pavement collapsed.’

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Contractor are installing 10m-long steel sheet piles to protect the area from further damage.

The area where the pavement crumbled had been identified as a ‘danger zone’ by the council and had been cordoned off since Monday.

The stretch of collapsed promenade in Southsea. Photo: Portsmouth City Council

Initial repairs to complete the temporary steel wall are due to be completed tomorrow.

Further repairs to the promenade will take place in early next year, with the council warning that some of the work could take place late at night or early in the morning depending on the tide.

The wall will be a temporary measure until the new permanent solution is built as part of the multi-million pound Southsea Coastal Scheme project.

The metal sheets being installed to protect the promenade. Photo: Portsmouth City Council.

Councillor Steve Pitt, city development boss and deputy leader of the council, said the damage to the sea wall proved it needed a desperate overhaul.

He said: ‘We are aware that our current sea defences are no longer fit for purpose and close to the end of their maintainable life.

‘Sea level rise and the increase in extreme weather events predicted over the next 100 years will continue to put Southsea’s coastal defences under increasing pressure.

‘We take this very seriously and the main focus is to keep all seafront visitors and residents safe.

Metal sheets have been installed as a temporary measure to protect the site from further damage. Photo: Portsmouth City Council

‘The team of professionals working on the new sea defence scheme for Southsea continue to monitor the current defences very closely for this reason.

‘Incidents like this underline the need to move forward with our new defence scheme as soon as possible.’

The sea defence scheme is underway and will look to rebuild coastal walls along a 2.8-mile stretch of seafront.

The council said the improved defences would safeguard almost 8,100 homes and more than 700 businesses from major flooding events over the next century.

Planning permission for the new scheme was granted in early December.

The initiative is now waiting for approval of the full business case which was submitted to the Environment Agency in October and, if green-lit, will unlock the required government funding for the scheme.

It is hoped construction work on the first section of defences could begin in 2020.