Sea defence firm set for contract

An artist's impression of the proposed new Anchorsholme Promenade
An artist's impression of the proposed new Anchorsholme Promenade

Construction specialist Birse looks set to build the next phase of Blackpool’s sea defences.

The company, which recently completed the £100m new Promenade from the Sandcastle to North Pier, has been selected by Blackpool Council to build the stretch at Anchorsholme.

The decision is due to be ratified by the executive when it meets on Monday.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “The Anchorsholme Coast Protection Scheme is part of the huge programme of work taking place across the Fylde coast to improve our coastal defences.

“The programme of work is extremely important, and if the executive agrees to enter into a contract with the selected contractor it will be an important step forward.

“Subject to formal confirmation of funding, work is due to start in November of this year.”

Birse was selected after it demonstrated the best quality and value for money after bids were invited last December.

Funding has been agreed in principle with a final announcement by the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs expected shortly.

A report to councillors says “it is important the contractor is able to be appointed immediately in order there is no delay in starting the scheme”.

Plans have already been lodged with Blackpool Council for the £24m stretch from Little Bispham to Anchorsholme.

The project will also see £55m invested in new sea defences between Rossall Hospital and Rossall Point in Fleetwood, and plans have been lodged with neighbouring Wyre Council for that.

Design work carried out as part of the Fylde Peninsula Coastal Programme sets out details of both schemes.

The new sea wall will protect thousands of homes and businesses from flooding. Wyre Council has also chosen Birse to construct the flood defences at Rossall.