Southend City Council is set to mothball £2million of funding to prevent a Leigh-on-Sea road collapsing into unstable cliffs.
The council closed pavements in Cliff Parade, between Leigh Hill and Avenue Road, and a small section between the junction of Cliff Parade, Sea Reach and Cliff Parade in February after checks on the roads and pavements found “ongoing deterioration”. Belton Hills are also in need of stabilisation work.
The instability of Cliff Parade is being made worse by burrowing badgers but “£2million set aside to remove the badgers and stabilise the cliffs has not been used.
A report to cabinet said: “Highways and infrastructure delays have been incurred on both the Cliff Parade cliff slip and Belton Way East cliff slip projects as a result of badgers continuing to access the site.”
Cabinet, which will meet on Monday to discuss a £10.7million deficit, is asked to carry over the money to 2024/25 but a Leigh councillor believes the delay could put motorists in danger.
Councillor Peter Wexham (Lib Dem), said “They’ve got to sort the badgers out before they can do anything. The cliffs are moving and the more they move it’s undermining the road. They are supposed to get the right people in to sort it out rather than just the council but they haven’t done and haven’t managed to get the badgers out of the way.
“Whether they are just trying to block them off and stop them going in there or leaving them to run around I don’t know. Sometimes it’s best to relocate them.”
Cllr Wexham added: “They should have done this during the summer because once the young ones are out they can do something with it and relocate them. When it gets to this time of year they’ll go in there and hibernate again.
“There is a great big hole under the road. Lorries do use it when they shouldn’t because it’s got a seven tonne weight limit on it. If they do go across it and go down holes there will be more chaos.
“It wouldn’t be like a sink hole but it would be enough for a wheel to go down in it. Then you’d have a hole there causing more trouble for a time.”