FEARS of a 4m sea wall being built along the Southsea seafront have been quashed.
Images of a 3.8m wall had been shared on social media prompting concern that the image outlined the proposals for Southsea’s new sea defences.
We are not proposing a blank vertical wall 3.8m high along the seafront. The structure will be mostly around 2m from the current level of the prom.Councillor Rob New
But Councillor Rob New, the city council’s cabinet member for environment has moved to allay fears.
He said that the promenade would be raised by a metre with a 1m wall on the landward edge, creating a possible 2m height difference between it and the sea level.
Cllr New said: ‘We are not proposing a blank vertical wall 3.8m high along the seafront. The structure will be mostly around 2m from the current level of the prom.
‘There are many options we can consider to minimise the defences’ impact and integrate them into their surroundings. These include slopes, steeped designs and using planting and landscaping.’
Coastal engineers at the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership are currently developing a final design for the sea defences.
A preferred option from a previous public consultation was for a primary concrete sloped revetment mirroring the eye-catching design of the new sea wall in Cleveleys, Lancashire.
The image for the 3.8m wall originated in an independent report by architect and University of Portsmouth lecturer Walter Menteth.
It followed the Portsmouth Elephant Cage programme, which brought architects and students together to design alternative sea defences for Southsea seafront.
The proposals, contained in a flier, said that the council had been awarded £86.2m for the sea defences.
But a council spokesman stated that the authority currently has around £7m to pay for the new defences.
Cllr New added: ‘We’re not proposing to concrete over the beach. At this early stage, we do not know what the defences are going to look like and our next step is to ask residents, businesses and local organisations for their views, which we’ll do later this year.’
Mr Menteth said of the potential plans for a revetment: ‘It would be a concrete nightmare, that would destroy the city’s skyline.
‘The worrying thing for me is that once it has been done, it cannot be undone and it will be there for another 100 years. I’m very much against these potential plans.’
He is in favour of creating a sea dyke on the common and transforming the landscape to create dunes on the seafront, creating a ‘natural’ look to the defences.
The council stated that the alternative plan would not be eligible for government flood defence flooding.
A presentation of the alternative plans will take place at Portsmouth Cathedral on Saturday at 12pm.