Sea defences £100m boost


A MAJOR £100m proposal to strengthen worn out sea defences in Fleetwood and Blackpool has received a boost.

Government environment chiefs are now considering plans which would help protect thousands of homes and businesses in both Anchorsholme and Rossall.

Environment Agency funding has still to be approved, but the two Fylde schemes have been placed on the agency’s ‘indicative list’ which means they will be considered in the next wave of coastal defence projects.

Blackpool and Wyre councils have now joined forces to seek tenders for the work which will cover an area historically hit by flooding.

Rossall’s coastal defence scheme – which could cost around £60m alone – will involve the reconstruction of a 1.9km length of sea wall and landscaping. The existing defences have been assessed as having an estimated lifespan of less than five years.

At Anchorsholme, Blackpool’s engineers have determined the existing sea wall is in a “progressive mode of failure”. The proposed scheme will involve the reconstruction of a 1km length of defences.

Wyre Council leader Peter Gibson said: “It’s early days and nothing is definite but we are hopeful after being placed on the indicative list which means the scheme is being considered.”

Coun Roger Berry, Wyre’s cabinet member with responsibility for coastal defences, said the scheme would provide a “fantastic opportunity” to not only protect homes but create jobs.

He added: “If the scheme gets the go ahead it will make a tremendous difference to the area and help protect quite a number of homes.There is also the opportunity to create jobs and employ local people.”

Both were keen to stress the project was more than just a sea wall and they would endeavour to model an “aesthetically pleasing” scheme as they did with the multi-award winning new Promenade in Cleveleys.

Anchorsholme councillor Tony Williams said: “We have been lobbying the Environment Agency for several years to take a more urgent look at our failing sea defences.

“Anchorsholme is a recognised flooding area.”

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