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Angry residents slam council for ‘wasting money’ on Hartlepool sea defences

Headland resident Stan Rennie (front) with fellow Town Wall residents standing at the Town Wall.

Headland resident Stan Rennie (front) with fellow Town Wall residents standing at the Town Wall.

ANGRY residents have slammed the council for “wasting money” on new sea defence plans - and claim other areas on the Headland are more at risk of flooding.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s proposals to install a set-back flood defence wall on a 300ft stretch of the Town Wall, on the Headland, have been backed by the authority’s neighbourhood services committee.

The council say the work, costing £1.5m, will defend against overtopping, erosion and flooding of 230 properties classed as at risk in the area.

But a group of residents who live in the Town Wall street and whose houses are deemed at risk are “fuming” at the plans, saying their homes have never once been flooded in the last 40 years.

The concerned residents say there are other areas on the Headland with lower water level points such as Throston Bridge, Irvine’s Quay and the car park area to the west of Bond Street.

Homeowner Stan Rennie, 52, looked back at the tide surge incident in December when the Headland was flooded.

Stan, a maintenance technician who lives on the Town Wall with wife Lynn, 52, said: “The Headland was cut off from the rest of the world by the flooding at Throston Bridge with the water three feet deep.

“But there wasn’t one drop of water overtopping the Town Wall, there wasn’t a home flooded, and we’re meant to be living in the houses at risk.”

“Irvines Quay, the deep water berth and Throston Bridge all overtopped, as we said they would.”

The council’s plans were first approved by the Environment Agency - which is funding the work - in 2011.

The set-back wall, which will measure just over 2ft, will be at the back of the existing footpath behind the current Town Wall, with flood gates installed at both ends of the wall plus a shallow drainage culvert under the footpath with an outfall to the sea.

A council spokesman said a study was conducted and backed up by work carried out by the Environment Agency to identify the area around the Town Wall as being at risk of coastal flooding.

And the council said several amendments have been made to the scheme to try and address the concerns of a “small number” of residents.

The plans are still subject to planning approval but the residents say their house insurance premiums have rocketed since their homes were classed as being at risk of flooding.

Stan added: “We are all absolutely fuming, we have grave concerns about these proposals and we have told the council over and over again but we’ve just been ignored.

“They’ve spent tens of thousands of pounds on various consultants and officers yet never once listened to what we have had to say, even though all of the areas we said would overtop have done.”

John Graham, 75, a retired maintenance engineer who has lived on the Town Wall for 40 years, said: “It’s the wrong thing happening in the wrong place. We’ve never had any problems in 40 years, yet suddenly our homes are at risk.”

 

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