Portsmouth council delays sea defences consultation after 4,000 sign petition

CAMPAIGNERS have been given a boost after Portsmouth's council delayed its consultation on controversial plans for a multimillion-pound flood defence scheme.

Saturday, 10th February 2018, 6:00 am
Southsea seafront

A petition of 3,815 people requesting greater involvement in plans to protect the seafront had been put forward to the city council last week after residents said proposals would impact on the beach.

But in a dramatic change of tack, the council is now delaying its consultation period until summer after it was initially meant to conclude on March 4 – giving residents a chance to contribute to plans.

The coastal scheme will stretch from Long Curtain Moat to Eastney Barracks and protect up to 800 homes and 700 businesses from flooding.

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People are worried the plans would damage the beauty and prosperity of the area with the reduction in beach.

The petition said: ‘Portsmouth City Council’s current proposals are to create a stepped concrete rampart up to 3.8m high mostly replacing the beach from the Hot Walls to Eastney.

‘They have now confirmed that all future public “consultation” will only offer us one choice: their “strategic approach” – which does not take account of the damage losing the beach will do to local businesses and residents and tourists’ enjoyment of the seafront.

‘As an island city, Portsmouth’s sea defences could lead the country in excellence of design and function.’

The council has confirmed it has delayed its consultation period until early summer and will take into account the view of interested parties.

The move by the council has been well received by residents, who believe they will now be more involved in shaping the future seafront.

Resident Celia Clarke said the move was encouraging. ‘It will give us more opportunity to have a positive input into decisions and help determine the outcome of the seafront,’ she remarked.

‘The people of Southsea have good local knowledge and expertise of the area so we’re pleased that our concerns will be taken into consideration.’

Council chief executive David Williams said in a statement: ‘In developing the Southsea Coastal Scheme, we have always been clear that as well as providing an effective and environmentally sound coastal defence, it’s really important that we preserve and enhance the unique character of Southsea seafront.

‘We know how much local people love the seafront, and we have been consulting with residents and businesses from the start to make sure they are involved and engaged.’