Multi-million pound scheme to protect Hartlepool’s Headland from flooding and erosion

The Town Wall near the Fish Sands on the Headland. Picture by FRANK REID
The Town Wall near the Fish Sands on the Headland. Picture by FRANK REID

MULTI-MILLION pound works to protect the Headland from potential flooding and coastal erosion are set to go ahead.

Hartlepool Borough Council is spearheading three schemes that will see some major changes to the Headland including the historic Town Wall which dates back to the 14th Century.

A 330ft concrete retaining wall set back from the Town Wall will be built.

New flood gates will be installed at both ends of the wall along with a drainage culvert under the footpath with an outfall to the sea to quickly dispose of sea water that comes crashing over the wall.

Sinead Turnbull, a senior council planning officer, said in a report that the project will protect 230 properties, including some listed buildings from potential flooding by storm surges and predicted rising sea levels.

She stated: “Failure to implement the scheme could lead to serious problems from overtopping that would pose a clear danger to individuals and their homes.”

The Environment Agency has set aside £1.3million for the scheme.

But 24 people objected saying the area does not flood, fears the work could damage the ancient wall and questioned how the floodgates will be managed.

Council engineers stated the town wall is prone to ongoing deterioration and risks collapsing if nothing is done.

They added the work will mean the area faces only a one in 100 year chance of flooding compared to one in 20 years currently.

The council’s planning committee approved the plans subject to conditions and submission of a construction management plan.

The committee also approved a plan to dismantle and strengthen a 45ft section of the stone parapet to the Town Wall between Ferry Landing and the Fish Quay.

The footpath and parapet will then be rebuilt using the existing materials.

Permission was granted subject to consideration of further representations before the end of a consultation period this month.

Defences to the sea walls off Marine Drive are also set to be strengthened as part of a £7million scheme.

The plans include adding a stepped concrete structure at the base of the wall from the Pilot Pier to the Heugh Breakwater and reinforcement of the wall itself.

Large rocks to protect the coast from erosion by the battering from waves will also be added at the base of the sea wall east of the Heugh Lighthouse.

A report said the council cannot afford to keep on top of the level of erosion.

The report stated: “Without substantial capital investment, maintenance costs will become unsustainable resulting in increased risk of defence collapse and erosion.

“This is likely to become worse with climate change and sea level rise.”

Work must start before the end of March so the council does not lose funding promised.

Consultations with outside bodies are still going on so councillors delegated the final decision to the planning services manager in consultation with the planning committee chairman.