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Beach repair work 'not justified'

PUBLISHED: 12:17 25 March 2008 | UPDATED: 19:59 05 July 2010

A coastal protection boss has revealed that hundreds of thousands of pounds would be needed to carry out wide-ranging safety improvements to a section of dangerous beach in Lowestoft.

A coastal protection boss has revealed that hundreds of thousands of pounds would be needed to carry out wide-ranging safety improvements to a section of dangerous beach in Lowestoft.

People are being warned to stay off the sands between North Denes and Ness Point because old sea defences have been exposed by lowering beach levels.

Waveney District Council's coastal- protection manager Julian Walker said he could not justify spending huge amounts on carrying out safety work because that section of beach is used far less than the south beach.

Remedies include importing material to raise beach levels and removing to old defences, but Mr Walker said the council's responsibility to the public purse meant this was not practical.

He added: “It would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to make it safe and that money would be better spent on maintaining defences elsewhere.

“There are higher priorities for the spending of public money.”

Mr Walker said he was disturbed by reports of children playing among the old concrete defences where cavities have been created by the lowering of beach levels.

“I would appeal to people to be sensible and to avoid the area.

“Potentially, it can be very dangerous and it's a matter of common sense. We need to do everything we can to avoid a serious accident,” he said.

Signs warning people to stay off the north beach were put up last month and followed similar problems last winter when sections were cordoned off.

Mr Walker said beach levels were under threat by rising sea levels and an extended period of southerly winds.

“It's all down to a natural process which involves the shifting of near-shore sandbanks that provide some protection from the heavy seas and break up the energy of the seas,” he added.

“If the banks move around and there is a gap, then the heavy seas come through and scour out the beach material.

“The reopening of the beach depends on volumes of material being returned naturally,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor it on a regular basis and if the beach returns to a volume that reduces the risk to the public, then it will reopen.”

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