Hartlepool Pier saved town from tidal surge

Flood prevention measures are in place to protect Hartlepool from a tidal surge.
Flood prevention measures are in place to protect Hartlepool from a tidal surge.

On January 13 a storm warning was issued for Hartlepool by the Environment Agency.

A northerly wind, backed up by a high tide, was forecast, indicating a danger of flooding on the Headland.

Sea defences at Town Wall, in the form of a secondary 2ft-high wall, have recently been built.

On the day prior to the predicted tidal surge Hartlepool Borough Council fitted the new floodgates to protect us from the North Sea overtopping the old wall.

Sandbags were also offered to residents.

On the Friday the tidal surge reached its full height around 4pm and the sea was just short of covering the Pilot pier.

Not a drop of water came over our new sea defences at Town Wall and the sea level was about 12ft below the height of the wall.

No surprise to those who live on the doorstep and understand how the wind and tides operate.

On December 4, 2013 similar weather conditions, with a slightly higher tidal surge, also left the Town Wall area completely free of water, whilst flooding occurred at the docks, Kafiga Landings and Fish Quay, causing mayhem for traffic leaving and entering the Headland.

On January 13 the docks area escaped flooding because of the lower sea level.

By contrast, a walk from Town Wall in the direction of the Block sands was like entering a different world.

Crowds had gathered to see a flooding spectacle in the area of Heugh breakwater.

And a spectacle it certainly was.

Nature put on a dramatic display as waves crashed against the pier, sending water 100ft into the air and cascading onto the lee side.

The paddling pool was completely under water.

Following the tidal surge of 2013 we urged the council to build some sort of sea defence at the docks, rather than wasting money building an attractive but useless folly behind the old Town Wall.

This time around we reiterate what Headland residents have been saying for years.

Can we really afford to allow the pier to fall into disrepair and disappear into the sea?

The pier was built in 1860 for the protection of Hartlepool harbour.

People in those days realised that this sea defence was very necessary for the protection and subsequent success of Hartlepool as a port.

Today the pier is no less important for the safety and well-being of our town.

P & J Buckle,

Town Wall,

Hartlepool.