An £880k grant from the Environment Agency has been secured by Thanet council to carry out t improvements to flood and erosion risk protection at Broadstairs Harbour and Viking Bay.
A report to Thanet council Cabinet members says the project will reduce the risk of flooding, coastal erosion and the loss of public and residential assets in Viking Bay which are protected by the coastal defences and pier head.
The report says sea defences at Broadstairs Harbour are in poor condition with residual life estimated at 10 years. Refurbished in the 1970s the pier head is constructed of battered concrete precast facing blocks supported by a sheet steel piled foundation and laid on an in-situ mass concrete wall which is constructed over the previous Stone/timber frame pier head.
The facing blocks now need to be secured and properly pointed to prevent further deterioration and erosion of the pier structure.
The report says: “In a do-nothing scenario the pier head could be eroded to the extent that it is a risk of catastrophic failure during a significant storm event within the next 10 years.”
The sea wall to the North of the pier has been maintained but is more than 50 years old, there are some damaged coping stones and some loss of pointing.
If work is not carried out the seawall condition will deteriorate leading to a loss of concrete blocks, rapid erosion of the sea wall and cliff erosion.
Properties at the bottom of Harbour Street are currently protected from the sea only by the beach and a concrete slipway which provides access to the beach from Harbour Street. The beach level is maintained through beach management activities and the slipway is in good condition.
But, the report says: “Due to sea level rise and the impacts of climate change, the risk of flooding to Harbour Street is increasing with the likelihood of property level flooding becoming far more likely in the medium term.
“The project proposes new flood walls and gates to compartmentalise the bottom of Harbour Street, protecting the road from wave overtopping from the East and inundation from the South.”
The works will include:
- Stabilisation of the existing sea defences (the pier head) at Viking Bay
- New flood walls and gates to reduce the property level flood risk at the bottom of Harbour Street.
- Securing and repointing of the pier wall facing blocks
- Works to the sea walls and the fisherman’s quay to the East of the pier
The report says: “The project will improve resilience to wave overtopping, which is predicted to increase with climate change over the next 100 years. Currently, the existing defences are showing signs of deterioration which could eventually lead to failure of the seawall and pier head in the future with the potential consequence of the loss of Viking Bay beach and subsequent flooding and cliff erosion.”
Planning permission for the scheme was granted in June 2023 and the work is programmed for Spring 2024 following competitive tendering.
A capital maintenance project is also proposed to prolong the life of the existing sea wall between Viking Bay and Dumpton Gap.
An Environment Agency grant of £406k has been secured to undertake the works along the 1.1 km seawall which was constructed almost 60 years ago and requires major maintenance.
The works will reduce the risk of coastal erosion.
A report to Cabinet members says: “The existing defences are showing signs of damage which will eventually lead to failure of the seawall.
“As a consequence, due to the intrinsic nature of the cliff and the defences, any failure will present a significant health and safety risk and would require a permanent exclusion zone around the area.”
The works will involve the replacement of some of the existing coping blocks and the berm slabs and concrete stepped sea wall units are to be refurbished and if necessary replaced.
Cabinet members are expected to approve both schemes at a meeting on Thursday (September 21).