Sea defence plan is back on track

Coun Keith Riley at 'Rossall, sea wall'remembers the Fleetwood floods of 1977
Coun Keith Riley at 'Rossall, sea wall'remembers the Fleetwood floods of 1977

ROSSALL’S new sea defence scheme is back on track thanks to a £138,000 grant from the Environment Agency.

The £60m scheme, which would protect 6,000 properties was due to start in 2012, but because of Government cutbacks, the plans were put on the back burner until 2014.

However, a strong business case from Wyre Borough Council won support from the Environment Agency’s regional officers, who were able to secure the money.

The funding will now allow Wyre Borough Council to develop the project right up to the detailed design stage and strengthen its chances of being recognised as a national priority.

In real terms, it means designs can now be developed and early discussions with contractors can begin, so that work can start on site as soon as funding is made available.

And that could be as soon as next year as originally planned.

Coun Roger Berry, Cabinet member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Borough Council, said: “We are delighted at this level of commitment from the Environment Agency.

“This is an area with a high risk of flooding and residents living nearby should be reassured that we will continue to ensure that this is recognised nationally.

Coun Keith Riley, who has campaigned for the replacement of the sea wall, said he was pleased by the news.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted for everyone. This shows the commitment from the new government to build the new sea defence. It’s unlikely that they would commit £138,000 to the scheme if they didn’t want to pursue it.

“It is listed as the number one priority in the North West , it is great news and the project can now move forward.”

The current concrete structure was built in 1982 to protect the town after it was badly flooded in 1977.

It’s done a sterling job for nearly 30 years but because of its unsightly design it has been dubbed the Berlin Wall.

Added Coun Riley: “It isn’t the best looking structure. People have often said it spoils the view of the sea, but that’s better than being able to see the sea in your living room. It has done a good job but is ready for replacing. The new sea defence will really enhance the area.”

Once work does get underway the wall will take four years to complete.