Worried residents calling for action

Chris Wallace, outside his home and workplace on the seafront on the Headland.
Chris Wallace, outside his home and workplace on the seafront on the Headland.

WORRIED residents have expressed huge concerns about the future of homes and businesses after a stark warning to bolster sea defences.

The Mail reported how people could find their homes underneath the waves within 100 years unless millions of pounds is spent on sea defences.

The historic Heugh Gun Battery, St Bega’s Primary School, the lighthouse and the memorial could also perish, it has been warned.

Headland residents have been quick to express their worries and said this week’s revelations means sea defences must become a priority.

One pub landlady who has lived on the Headland for nearly 50 years said waves lashing up against properties on the sea front are becoming more fierce by the year.

Amanda Davis, 48, has been landlady at The Harbour of Refuge pub, on the Headland, for the last 10 years.

The mum-of-three, who lives in the area with husband Paul, 42, said: “We have been warned for years that the water was going to rise and it would take away a few metres every year.

“I haven’t seen that, but the last few winters I have definitely seen a change, the waves are lashing up against some of the houses.

“Millions of pounds have been spent on the sea defences at Seaton Carew, now they have to be improved here.

“The Heugh pier is the breakwater, if they work on that it will make a real difference.”

Chris Wallace, 23, who lives and works in the pub, said: “I have never seen a change in the water level but it’s there in black and white what the expert has said.

“It is worrying, 100 years isn’t that long.

“I know money is tight at the minute but something is going to have to be done about it at some point.”

Mick Meadows, 66, a retired satellite engineer who lives in Bedford Street, on the Headland, with wife Judith, 68, said: “It’s worrying for people in the future.

“You read that the council want to spend money on Jacksons Landing, they need to spend money here on the defences.”

Consultants from Croydon-based experts Mott MacDonald have conducted a survey on the Headland over the last few months and revealed the worrying findings at a consultation at the Borough Hall earlier this week.

Hartlepool Borough Council has spent more than £500,000 on maintaining defences on the Headland over the last 10 years. But that could rocket to that amount each year by 2016 if the defences are left as they are now.

Despite the warnings, John Southcott, chairman of the Battery Museum, on the Headland, said: “I do think it is far-fetched and the very worst possible scenario, although nothing is impossible.

“The council have done a remarkably good job at Seaton and it is an ongoing project here on the Headland.

“The sea levels would have to rise by a good few metres if we are to be in any danger.

“I think it’s important to ensure sea defences are maintained over a period of time.”

People can visit www.hartlepoolcoastal.com to give their views or email dennis.hancock@hartlepool.gov.uk or rosalind.turner@mottmac.com by July 31.