Southend councillor calls for repairs to sea defences

Holes in sea defences in Thorpe Bay must be tackled before they deteriorate further, a Southend city councillor has claimed.

Ron Woodley, Residents First councillor for Thorpe Ward, says the east seawall bastion opposite Lynton Road, Thorpe Bay needs urgent attention to repair holes in the defence.

In a Burges Estate Residents’ Association newsletter, Mr Woodley announced he had called on the council to spend part of a £1.5million fund for seafront maintenance but discovered it had all been spent.

He said: “The west sea wall bastion has been repaired and up to standard for the city’s sea defences and I asked the question as to when the east sea wall bastion is due to be repaired making this part of the city’s sea defences up to standard also.

“I was advised by the Highways officer that all of Southend’s coastal defences are inspected monthly, with any issues prioritised for repair as funding becomes available and that they are currently seeking capital budget to upgrade the bastion in Thorpe Bay.”

Cllr Woodley was informed the £1.5 million capital funding was to provide maintenance and improvement work at a cost of £500,000 a year over three years.

Beach steps are being replaced in Thorpe Bay and steps at Chalkwell beach have been completed. Work on a beach boardwalk and climate resilient garden in Chalkwell is also due to start meaning all of the funding has been spent or allocated.

Cllr Woodley added: “What I find outlandish is the fact that our officers are prepared to fix steps onto the beach, yet ignore the fact that the east bastion is in a precarious position of collapse with various voids open to the sea and weather.

David Garston, councillor for housing and planning, also has responsibility for sea defences. He said: “If it needs to be done it should be done. It would need to be investigated and I’m more than happy to do that.

“The financial situation of the council is pretty dire. We’re attending a lot of meetings trying to find money so I’m not holding out much hope.

“If we are going to do anything it would need to be grant funded but we’ll look at it and do all we possibly can to assist.”

The Ministry of Defence is working on phase three of a project to improve sea defences in Shoebury and Foulness Island.


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter