‘Vital’ cash to stop coast road collapse

More storms like those that battered Shoreham and Southwick last winter could have 'catastrophic' consequnces if vital repaires are not carried out.
More storms like those that battered Shoreham and Southwick last winter could have 'catastrophic' consequnces if vital repaires are not carried out.
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‘VITAL’ Government funding has been granted to stop homes along a major coast road being washed into the sea.

More than £2million has been allocated to help rebuild coastal defences at Kingston Beach, Shoreham, to protect houses along the A259 Brighton Road in the event of future storms.

A report published by Adur District Council highlights the risk posed by ‘inadequate’, ‘decaying’ groynes along the shoreline.

“Recent damage by this winter’s storms has only made the situation worse,” said the report, adding that if unchecked, the sea could erode the brick wall protecting the A259, then the road itself and the houses beyond it.

“If this work doesn’t get done, there’s a very good chance the A259 won’t be there next winter,” said Adur Council leader Neil Parkin.

He said it was ‘absolutely vital’ that the defences were bolstered in time for any future storms.

“What happened at Dawlish at Christmas, that could have been the A259,” said Cllr Parkin.

“The sea could have washed away Kingston Beach.”

The report written by Adur Council’s principal engineer, Bryan Curtis, revealed the urgent need to replace several key groynes to protect the busy stretch of road.

The report also highlighted the need to repair the defences west of Shoreham Lifeboat Station, which failed during the winter storms, allowing the car park to be eroded.

Initial repair plans were scuppered when heavy waves caused a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the defences.

These two projects will have a combined cost of more than £2million, with Adur Council having to chip in £165,000 from its capital reserves.

The spending must first be approved by the full council at its next meeting on May 21.

A similar bid for money from the Recovery Grant Aid fund to protect Southwick Beach is still being considered by the Government.

The council report revealed that the storms had damaged several groynes, causing them to collapse, allowing ‘a considerable amount’ of the beach to be washed away.

Waves have penetrated through the steel sea wall, causing the promenade to collapse at one point.

“Further collapses of the promenade and of Basin Road South further along the wall are likely to occur in the next set of storms unless urgent action is taken,” said the report.

The report suggested the collapse of Basin Road South would result in the western half of Shoreham Port having to be closed and vehicle access being cut off, followed by the shutting down of Shoreham Power Station, the waste water treatment works and possibly the Parker steel factory.

“We could be talking about a major, catastrophic impact on the infrastructure and the local economy,” said Cllr Parkin.

“It’s a nightmare scenario that we are doing our best to make sure doesn’t happen.”

Deputy port engineer at Shoreham Port, Brian Roussel, said almost £500,000 had already been spent on bolstering sea defences in the wake of the winter storms and another £500,000 on dredging and building repairs .

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