Work on new Hill Head sea wall to get underway this summer

WORK on building a new promenade is set to get under way this summer.

Tuesday, 4th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:05 pm
Tony Pepper, right, with Hill Head residents Brian Ray and Christina Gilbert with her dog Ellie by the crumbling promenade last year Picture: Sarah Standing (160083-7347)
Tony Pepper, right, with Hill Head residents Brian Ray and Christina Gilbert with her dog Ellie by the crumbling promenade last year Picture: Sarah Standing (160083-7347)

Councillors on Fareham Borough Council’s executive gave the £650,000 plan to rebuild the current Hill Head sea wall their blessing at a meeting last night.

The works – due to begin in July – are the second phase of a £950,000 project to boost the sea defences around Hill Head for the next 50 years with the fear that the existing wall would fail in the result of a severe storm.

Works on improving the defences began last autumn with the existing groynes along the breach replaced and over 200 lorries worth of shingle added to replenish the beach.

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Council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘This is a very expensive project for which we have no responsibility but if we do not do anything then the defences will most certainly fall into the sea.’

Severe winter storms have damaged the existing wall in recent years, notably in 2015 when the promenade was closed for the local authority to undertake £39,000-worth of urgent work – which was criticised as a ‘botched job’ by nearby residents.

The new wall – which will also protect 33 beach huts – will be wider than its predecessor and includes a 2ft wall to prevent shingle from landing on the promenade, as well as 150m of steel railing.

It had previously been suggested the beach huts could be moved for the work but this was not considered feasible.

Councillor Arthur Mandry, who represents Hill Head on the council, made a deputation in which he called the wall an ‘essential element’ of the defences.

He said: ‘This project is going to be worth every penny as it as an integral part of the sea defences.’

However, the councillor criticised the inclusion of the railings as ‘unnecessary.’

Tony Pepper, a beach hut owner, resident of Cliff Road and member of Hill Head Residents Association said: ‘We were very happy with the first phase of the project but the proposed wall seems a little too “Rolls-Royce”.

‘Myself and many other residents do not quite understand why there is a need for this wall. It is a little bit over the top.’