THE Environment Agency has asked Southend Council to explain how it will meet a £170,000 shortfall in its plans for a new sea wall on Shoebury Common.

The Echo can reveal the public body has asked the council to re-submit its application to build a huge embankment across the park after a hole was found in the £4.58million scheme.

The council has set aside £4.5million for sea defences in its budget, but hopes to only spend £750,000 on improving the sea wall in Shoebury where the Environment Agency has warned up to 500 homes are at risking of flooding every five years.

The council hopes the agency will stump up £2.11million for the work.

In addition, the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee has committed £750,000 and the council expects another £800,000 from “partnership contributions”, including private companies and other non-governmental organisations.

But this leaves £170,000 from the estimated cost unaccounted for.

Tony Cox, cabinet member for public protection, has reassured readers the money will be found, even if it means the authority contributing more.

The councillor, who represents Shoebury, said: “That’s part of what was in this year’s budget. It was to meet shortfall and be there for contingencies.

“It’s normal procedure for the Environment Agency to come back with a few questions. It’s a minor clarification on that point. It’s just part of a lengthy procedure and we are still planning to do a publication on it soon.

“The reassuring fact is that whether people agree with the agreed scheme or not, the money is coming.”