End of the line for £9.5million Headland sea defence works as Hartlepool council chiefs axe final stage of work

Work to improve the sea wall off Marine Drive on the Headland.
Work to improve the sea wall off Marine Drive on the Headland.

A £9.5million scheme to upgrade sea defences in Hartlepool will stop short of the original plan.

Hartlepool Borough Council obtained planning permission to strengthen the area’s sea defences for the full length of the Headland as part of long-term work to protect residents from rising sea levels.

The sea wall from Thorpe Street which will not be upgraded at this time.

The sea wall from Thorpe Street which will not be upgraded at this time.

Erosion has been taking place in stages over the last four years but council bosses have now decided not to upgrade a final stretch of the wall - from Thorpe Street to the end of Marine Drive.

The authority has denied suggestions it is due to a lack of money after extra costs were incurred.

Instead it insists it is because the wall from Thorpe Street is in better condition than other parts of the Headland.

A council spokesperson said: “Although the original planning application made provision for the future upgrade of the full stretch of the sea defences, as the scheme has progressed over the last four years it has become apparent that the condition and strength of the existing sea defences in the section to the north past Thorpe Street is in much better structural condition that around the gun battery.

Councillor Shane Moore

Councillor Shane Moore

“It is therefore considered that the requirement to upgrade this section of wall with the same construction as that further south is unnecessary – it is not a matter of cost savings.”

Work has included installing new concrete block facing and rock armour between the Heugh Gun Battery and Marine Drive, and replacement of the parapet wall, including coping stones between the Heugh breakwater and Redheugh Gardens.

Headland and Harbour Councillor Shane Moore said: “As much as I would have liked to see the whole scheme be completed you have to be realistic.

“I think it is the prudent choice to make.”

The council added: “As part of the overall coastal protection scheme we are, where needed, carrying out upgrade works including repairing the beach access ramps, repairs to the coping stones and the upgrading of the hand rails to ensure that the coastal defences continue to provide a good level of protection for residents.

“Although unforeseen circumstances – such as the period of severe weather early last year – did lead to additional costs, the scheme is still being delivered within the budget window.”

The work has been funded by the Environment Agency, council and PD Ports.