The Spa Pavilion area of Felixstowe experienced substantial falls in beach levels during the strong Easterly winds of Storm Darcy earlier this year. This is a continuing trend over recent years and has meant that a proposed pilot scheme of installing concrete platforms on which to position the displaced beach huts, would be easily undermined, despite their substantial nature. There is also not enough beach material in the area for the depth required to insert the platforms, nor create a control sand platform.
As a result, it has become apparent that the response to the loss of beach material in this area needs to extend beyond the moving of the beach huts on and off the Promenade and that all options need to be explored to provide a holistic solution to protect the beach as an amenity resource. It has therefore been decided that the pilot scheme will not be going ahead following discussions between Coastal Management and Senior Council Officers.
Kerry Blair, Head of Operations at East Suffolk Council, said: “It has become evident during recent storms, that it will not be feasible to go ahead with the proposed pilot scheme as the amount of beach material this would require, would limit the area available to other beach users severely. Whist this is not the outcome we hoped for, we appreciate that this came to light before work started on the pilot scheme and we will now reassess the situation and explore other options which will enable us to maintain an amenity beach in the long-term.”
There are no simple solutions to the situation and options will depend on various factors and parties, including the Environment Agency and Crown Estates. East Suffolk Council does not own the land beyond the low tide mark so possible solutions, such as beach replenishment and/or alterations/extensions to groins would be dependent on their support and priorities.
Until a solution has been found, the beach huts will remain in their current location on the Promenade, although this is not a long-term option.