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Plan in place for Southwold harbour wall

PUBLISHED: 10:24 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:09 06 July 2010

A RESCUE package has been agreed for a historic harbour wall that is in poor condition and slowly crumbling into the sea.

Waveney district councillors have approved measures to manage the risk of damage should Southwold harbour's north quay wall collapse before major repair works.

A RESCUE package has been agreed for a historic harbour wall that is in poor condition and slowly crumbling into the sea.

Waveney district councillors have approved measures to manage the risk of damage should Southwold harbour's north quay wall collapse before major repair works.

Harbour users and council officers had already agreed that urgent action needed to be taken to prevent the structure from becoming even more precarious, but concerns had been raised over where the money to fund the repairs would come from.

At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday night, councillors agreed to use the £50,000 budget previously allocated to the Blyth Lower Estuary study.

The recommendation councillors agreed involves extending a previous contract with consultant HR Walling-ford to fund two studies. One is an options appraisal study, leading to a recommendation for a major scheme to stabilise the harbour north wall.

The second is a dredging viability assessment to advise on the viability of diverting the existing navigation channel away from the wall failure zone.

According to a council report, the north wall is in poor condition and a significant collapse is forecast within 10 years with minor failures likely sooner. Failure would take the form of all or parts of the concrete quay wall rotating about its base into the River Blyth.

The report says the potential consequences of wall failure are injury to people; disruption to navigation of the River Blyth; damage to a water main and surface water drain and loss of the launching facility of the RNLI lifeboat base.

The council is obligated as landowner and harbour authority to appropriately manage the risk of collapse at the wall.

At the meeting councillors agreed to take a 'Reactive - do minimum' approach to manage the risk of wall failure prior to the implementation of major repair works anticipated.

As already reported in The Journal, the wall's future management is looking more certain after a loan was secured to help set up an ownership trust.

The harbour has been the subject of an ownership dispute for years and last year Waveney District Council, which has run it since the 1970s, agreed to start the process to get it signed back over to the town.

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