WORK has started on a £1.5M scheme to improve sea defences.
The section of seafront opposite the Staincliffe Hotel, in Seaton Carew, along to the junction of Station Lane and The Front, will be worked on for the next six months.
Funded by the Environment Agency and commissioned by Hartlepool Borough Council, the work is being done in the light of rising sea levels which are eroding the sea wall and adjacent steps and increasing the risk of waves reaching onto the lower promenade.
The project will include:
• Placing rock armour in front of the full 500 metre stretch of sea wall. This will run along the base of the wall but will be lower than the height of the wall.
• Building a new 80 metre length of sea wall in the area formerly occupied by the North Shelter, which had to be demolished several years ago due to its deteriorating and unsafe condition. The wall will replace the existing railings and will match the height of the adjacent sea wall on either side.
• The former North Shelter area will be raised to the same level as the rest of the prom and will be paved and landscaped with feature seating and new lighting. A new set of steps will be installed there to provide access down to the beach.
• The steps down to the beach from the nearby promenade beacon will also be replaced.
The improvements will complement the coastal defence work carried out by the local authority several years ago further north, along the sea wall in front of Coronation Drive.
Any disruption during the work will be kept to a minimum. Short sections of the promenade may at times be closed to pedestrians but appropriate diversions will be in place.
The work will not involve closing roads, and traffic is not expected to be disrupted.
Councillor Robbie Payne, Hartlepool Council’s cabinet member for finance and procurement, said: “The threat of rising sea levels and coastal erosion along Britain’s coastline cannot be underestimated and Hartlepool is no exception.
“I am exceptionally pleased to see the start of these improvements, which form part of the wider ongoing sea defence strategy for Hartlepool’s coastline and which have been developed after extensive research and public consultation.
“We are very grateful to the Environment Agency for providing the funding to enable us to carry out this urgent work.”
Phil Welton, area coastal engineer for the Environment Agency, said: “Hartlepool Borough Council was able to demonstrate to us the importance of these coastal defence structures and the role they play in preventing coastal erosion in Seaton Carew.
“We are therefore happy to support the scheme with a grant to cover the cost of the works.”