Work begins to assess stability of Leigh cliffs

Part of a beauty spot in Leigh-on-Sea has been shut off while tests are carried out to assess the safety of the cliffs to determine whether they are at risk of slipping.

A section of Belton Hills, off Marine Parade, has been closed while Southend Council investigates the stability of the northern end of the cliffs.

Southend Council’s budget documents reveal funding of £500,000 has been set aside to “remedy ground movement and reduce the risk of cliff slips”.

Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh Ward, said: “This work has started to see what it is. We all know the cliffs are slipping all the way along and they keep a very watchful eye on it. We’ve had issues before down Belton Way. I think they are being super cautious and making sure that everything is OK.

“They’ve got this money which I’m pretty sure comes from Government and they are moving along with it. I know there will be people who will say it’s a beautiful green area but we can’t have the cliffs slipping down onto the road so you’ve got to do these things as soon as you possibly can.”

The council has also announced an 18-month extension to road restrictions on Cliff Parade where badger setts are delaying work to stabilise 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 2023 after checks on the roads and pavements found “ongoing deterioration”.

A council spokesman said: “It’s just an extension of what has already been put in place – the junction of Seaview and Cliff Parade already closed to traffic, three way lights are already in, and one lane of Cliff Parade is already closed.”

Cllr Mulroney added: “However much people go on about it we cannot do anything because of the badgers. Until that problem is sorted out we can’t do anything because the badger groups and the environmentalists will quite rightly say you can’t do anything to damage the badgers.

“We’re trying to do it the right way within all the rules.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter