Southend Council faces race to put together fresh seawall proposals

Martin Terry at Shoebury common

Martin Terry at Shoebury common

First published in Southend Exclusive by

Southend Council faces a race against time to put together a new seawall proposal, the Echo can reveal.

The joint administration has just eight months to put together its own seawall project, including planning permission and consultation, if it decides to scrap the Conservatives’ proposal.

For the first time, the Environment Agency has confirmed it will pay the council £1.4million towards the project, but only if finalised by March 2015.

It leaves the whole seawall saga, rumbling on since 2011, in jeopardy – with opposition Tories claiming that lives could be put at risk.

The new Independent, Lib Dem, and Labour administration has put previous rubberstamped plans on ice, carrying out a review into the £5.18million buffer, earmarked for Shoebury Common.

John Lamb, leader of the Tories on the council, said: “By not going forward with a seawall, business and residents are being put at risk.

“People will be put further at risk the longer this continues.

They are not on the frontline with this at all because it could be months before it goes to cabinet and August tends to be a quiet month with people off.”

The review was rubberstamped at a full council meeting and the new Independent, Labour, Lib Dem, ruling coalition has promised to review all options for improving sea defences for 237 homes and 58 businesses along a 1,000 yardlong stretch between Ness Road and Bay Gardens.

The previous Tory administration pushed through the proposals in the face of a huge public backlash, with only four people backing their preferred option in the face of thousands denouncing it.

If the Tories’ project was retained, the council would still have had to finalise funding already approved from the Environment Agency, subject to just a few outstanding questions.

The new authority, if it loses the £1.4million, can re-apply, but nothing will be guaranteed.

Martin Terry, Independent councillor responsible for public safety, said: “If we have until March, then that is better news than I was expecting.

“I can’t be confident of meeting the deadline, but given a lot of the work has already been done, I have some confidence that it can be done.

“There is a chance we will do and we will hit the ground running.”

In the wake of the elections, where the Tories did not win one seat in the eastern part of the borough, many believe because of the unpopular scheme, Southend East MP Conservative MP James Duddridge came out and urged the new council to reconsider the project.

Comments (8)

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10:20am Tue 22 Jul 14

JayRSS1 says...

The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this.
And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway.
If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway.
We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.
The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this. And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway. If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway. We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment. JayRSS1
  • Score: 15

10:22am Tue 22 Jul 14

Loosers says...

The new SBC administration would be ill-advised to backtrack and press ahead with the Conservative sea wall proposal which was so vehemently opposed by the public, whose anger was reflected in the outcome of local elections. We can vote the current councillors out in the same way if they don't support the public point of view. After all, our elected officials work for us - the voters.

Mr. Lamb, if you want to save lives then work on the sea defences at the Chalkwell end where the water is regularly breaching the sea wall - and by the way take the Westcliff dirt with you!
The new SBC administration would be ill-advised to backtrack and press ahead with the Conservative sea wall proposal which was so vehemently opposed by the public, whose anger was reflected in the outcome of local elections. We can vote the current councillors out in the same way if they don't support the public point of view. After all, our elected officials work for us - the voters. Mr. Lamb, if you want to save lives then work on the sea defences at the Chalkwell end where the water is regularly breaching the sea wall - and by the way take the Westcliff dirt with you! Loosers
  • Score: 8

11:29am Tue 22 Jul 14

Russ13 says...

JayRSS1 wrote:
The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this.
And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway.
If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway.
We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.
I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall?

This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially.

As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure.

Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area.

Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.
[quote][p][bold]JayRSS1[/bold] wrote: The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this. And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway. If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway. We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.[/p][/quote]I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall? This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially. As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure. Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area. Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is. Russ13
  • Score: -7

2:05pm Tue 22 Jul 14

JayRSS1 says...

Russ13 wrote:
JayRSS1 wrote:
The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this.
And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway.
If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway.
We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.
I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall?

This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially.

As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure.

Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area.

Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.
I was talking about priorities
I have no doubt if our sea defences are weak a sea wall is needed and the right proposal put into action.
But as you have pointed out the last flood was caused torrential rain.
Look at Canvey and the rest of Southend, surely the priority should be better storm drainage as a sea wall would stop none of the flooding we have just had nor a year back
[quote][p][bold]Russ13[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JayRSS1[/bold] wrote: The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this. And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway. If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway. We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.[/p][/quote]I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall? This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially. As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure. Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area. Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.[/p][/quote]I was talking about priorities I have no doubt if our sea defences are weak a sea wall is needed and the right proposal put into action. But as you have pointed out the last flood was caused torrential rain. Look at Canvey and the rest of Southend, surely the priority should be better storm drainage as a sea wall would stop none of the flooding we have just had nor a year back JayRSS1
  • Score: 6

3:33pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Russ13 says...

JayRSS1 wrote:
Russ13 wrote:
JayRSS1 wrote:
The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this.
And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway.
If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway.
We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.
I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall?

This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially.

As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure.

Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area.

Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.
I was talking about priorities
I have no doubt if our sea defences are weak a sea wall is needed and the right proposal put into action.
But as you have pointed out the last flood was caused torrential rain.
Look at Canvey and the rest of Southend, surely the priority should be better storm drainage as a sea wall would stop none of the flooding we have just had nor a year back
If you believe the reports, Canvey flooded because a lightning strike took out power to the pumping stations on the island and there was a delay on getting them back online.

Not sure what the underlying cause of the flooding in Southend apart from the drainage/sewer systems becoming completely overwhelmed. How much money can realistically be spent on freak occurances? Admittedly there have been two such occurences in the last year but potentially you could spend millions next week and it might never happen again.

The Environment Agency have identified a weakness in our sea defences, admittedly it's not likely to be an issue in the immediate future but it could be a recurring problem a few years down the line. Whilst there's money in the coffers for it, let's get it fixed.

I would think that little more than routine maintenance and regular clearing of the existing drainage/sewers in the area would help alleviate future flash floods from torrential downpours.
[quote][p][bold]JayRSS1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Russ13[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JayRSS1[/bold] wrote: The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this. And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway. If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway. We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.[/p][/quote]I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall? This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially. As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure. Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area. Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.[/p][/quote]I was talking about priorities I have no doubt if our sea defences are weak a sea wall is needed and the right proposal put into action. But as you have pointed out the last flood was caused torrential rain. Look at Canvey and the rest of Southend, surely the priority should be better storm drainage as a sea wall would stop none of the flooding we have just had nor a year back[/p][/quote]If you believe the reports, Canvey flooded because a lightning strike took out power to the pumping stations on the island and there was a delay on getting them back online. Not sure what the underlying cause of the flooding in Southend apart from the drainage/sewer systems becoming completely overwhelmed. How much money can realistically be spent on freak occurances? Admittedly there have been two such occurences in the last year but potentially you could spend millions next week and it might never happen again. The Environment Agency have identified a weakness in our sea defences, admittedly it's not likely to be an issue in the immediate future but it could be a recurring problem a few years down the line. Whilst there's money in the coffers for it, let's get it fixed. I would think that little more than routine maintenance and regular clearing of the existing drainage/sewers in the area would help alleviate future flash floods from torrential downpours. Russ13
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Tue 22 Jul 14

jayman says...

okay... average tide is em.....de dada.. approximately 5.3 meters. !953 flood was 5.6 meters above mean sea level... that's over seven meters. In the even of such a flood. I doubt a small and ineffective patch of spoil (seawall) will have much of an effect.
okay... average tide is em.....de dada.. approximately 5.3 meters. !953 flood was 5.6 meters above mean sea level... that's over seven meters. In the even of such a flood. I doubt a small and ineffective patch of spoil (seawall) will have much of an effect. jayman
  • Score: 4

9:27am Wed 23 Jul 14

JayRSS1 says...

Russ13 wrote:
JayRSS1 wrote:
Russ13 wrote:
JayRSS1 wrote:
The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this.
And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway.
If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway.
We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.
I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall?

This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially.

As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure.

Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area.

Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.
I was talking about priorities
I have no doubt if our sea defences are weak a sea wall is needed and the right proposal put into action.
But as you have pointed out the last flood was caused torrential rain.
Look at Canvey and the rest of Southend, surely the priority should be better storm drainage as a sea wall would stop none of the flooding we have just had nor a year back
If you believe the reports, Canvey flooded because a lightning strike took out power to the pumping stations on the island and there was a delay on getting them back online.

Not sure what the underlying cause of the flooding in Southend apart from the drainage/sewer systems becoming completely overwhelmed. How much money can realistically be spent on freak occurances? Admittedly there have been two such occurences in the last year but potentially you could spend millions next week and it might never happen again.

The Environment Agency have identified a weakness in our sea defences, admittedly it's not likely to be an issue in the immediate future but it could be a recurring problem a few years down the line. Whilst there's money in the coffers for it, let's get it fixed.

I would think that little more than routine maintenance and regular clearing of the existing drainage/sewers in the area would help alleviate future flash floods from torrential downpours.
Just from my own personal experience without quoting, There was flooding where my parents live in Leigh. The basement flat below me in Southend was flooded out due to overflow from the road, last year the esplanade was flooded, waterfalls in the gardens in Westcliffe. Year before that the station drains backed up at southend Central and flooded, had to run into the Railway Hotel to take shelter and the drains backed up flooding the toilets into the bar... These are no longer freak occurances.
In Canvey the pumps were apparently off for only 6 minutes so what exists isn't adequate, which is why their MP is trying to get better drainage and pumps.
All this due to RAIN.
I know let's build the cheapest white elephant out of mud at Shoebury. Maybe we do need a sea wall but if the environment agency are so clued up why aren't they bothered about all these now annual flooding events caused by RAIN.
As I said before PRIORITIES. Better drainage is needed as this will happen again and again, next year and the year after that...
[quote][p][bold]Russ13[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JayRSS1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Russ13[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JayRSS1[/bold] wrote: The Tories got voted out in part because of their poorly thought out design and obstinance to residents and business feelings to this. And what lives will be lost? If you have a look at Shoebury common all the houses are raised substantially anyway. If the present sea defences are so woeful then surely the real danger is for basement flats further down the Esplanade which the original sea wall proposal wouldn't protect anyway. We've had more flooding through torrential rain than rising sea levels. Maybe increasing the capacity of storm drains and sewers would be a better priority at the moment.[/p][/quote]I take it you didn't see the state of Ness Road/Campfield Road in August last year when we had torrential rainfall? This new seawall wouldn't be protecting the houses on Shoebury common, as you correctly say they are raised substantially. As the storm flooding of last year showed, Ness Road acts as a funnel, a breach of the current sea defences would see large parts of Ness Road, Towerfield and the sidings at Shoebury Station under water which would have a big impact on local businesses and infrastructure. Whilst an event like this is unlikely to happen for 15-20+ years, I think it's very selfish of the older generation who are so opposed to this on the basis of the asthetics of Shoebury Common. For myself and thousands of others living in Shoebury who will (hopefully) be here for many more years to come, I welcome any move that will protect homes and businesses in the area. If businesses get flooded or at risk of being flooded they will have to move elsewhere, this definitely won't be good for the area. Admittedly, Shoebury Common will change in appearence but it's done so over the years anyway. I can't imaging people were too happy about the current seawall when it was installed but no one really takes notice any more and accepts it for what it is.[/p][/quote]I was talking about priorities I have no doubt if our sea defences are weak a sea wall is needed and the right proposal put into action. But as you have pointed out the last flood was caused torrential rain. Look at Canvey and the rest of Southend, surely the priority should be better storm drainage as a sea wall would stop none of the flooding we have just had nor a year back[/p][/quote]If you believe the reports, Canvey flooded because a lightning strike took out power to the pumping stations on the island and there was a delay on getting them back online. Not sure what the underlying cause of the flooding in Southend apart from the drainage/sewer systems becoming completely overwhelmed. How much money can realistically be spent on freak occurances? Admittedly there have been two such occurences in the last year but potentially you could spend millions next week and it might never happen again. The Environment Agency have identified a weakness in our sea defences, admittedly it's not likely to be an issue in the immediate future but it could be a recurring problem a few years down the line. Whilst there's money in the coffers for it, let's get it fixed. I would think that little more than routine maintenance and regular clearing of the existing drainage/sewers in the area would help alleviate future flash floods from torrential downpours.[/p][/quote]Just from my own personal experience without quoting, There was flooding where my parents live in Leigh. The basement flat below me in Southend was flooded out due to overflow from the road, last year the esplanade was flooded, waterfalls in the gardens in Westcliffe. Year before that the station drains backed up at southend Central and flooded, had to run into the Railway Hotel to take shelter and the drains backed up flooding the toilets into the bar... These are no longer freak occurances. In Canvey the pumps were apparently off for only 6 minutes so what exists isn't adequate, which is why their MP is trying to get better drainage and pumps. All this due to RAIN. I know let's build the cheapest white elephant out of mud at Shoebury. Maybe we do need a sea wall but if the environment agency are so clued up why aren't they bothered about all these now annual flooding events caused by RAIN. As I said before PRIORITIES. Better drainage is needed as this will happen again and again, next year and the year after that... JayRSS1
  • Score: 1

10:29am Wed 23 Jul 14

rodgdodge says...

These rainfall events are forecast to increase.
Some kind of storage ( for later pumping out) needs to be considered.
I.e. The lagoons in Gunners Park ( which could easily , dredged out much deeper) for one.
And, under any new Development at the Kursaal ( similar to the underground storage in Amsterdam), the expanded Sea-Life development , Priory Park ( draining the Fairfax Drive area ) and many other sites.
These rainfall events are forecast to increase. Some kind of storage ( for later pumping out) needs to be considered. I.e. The lagoons in Gunners Park ( which could easily , dredged out much deeper) for one. And, under any new Development at the Kursaal ( similar to the underground storage in Amsterdam), the expanded Sea-Life development , Priory Park ( draining the Fairfax Drive area ) and many other sites. rodgdodge
  • Score: 1

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