Council rejects claims of erosion damage at Blackpool sea wall

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Council chiefs have dismissed new claims the Anchorsholme sea defences are failing and say latest inspections show the £27m wall is holding firm.

 

Residents have raised fears on social media, backed by ward councillors, that water is still seeping through cracks in the structure which was completed by contractor Balfour Beatty in 2017.

The contractor has pledged to make repairs to any defects, but the council said Balfour Beatty was still testing its proposed solution and in the meantime inspections show there is no detrioration.

John Blackledge, Blackpool Council director for community and environmental services, said: “The annual inspection in July and a further visual inspection on Friday October 22 2021 does not show any visible signs of deterioration to the sea wall or highway and it is providing a significant barrier to potential flooding.

Anchorsholme sea wall

Anchorsholme sea wall

“The water in the structure changes with the state of the tide. The sea defences are designed to let tidal and ground water into and exit the structure.

“This is normal for sea defence schemes, including the central section between South Pier and North Pier.

“The current focus is to ensure that this drainage functions and performs reliably, and will continue to do so in the long term.

“This is what the contractor has been assessing and requested 12 months for this assessment at the beginning of the year.

“Balfour Beatty are still responsible for the works and we continue to push them to complete those works.”

Coun Tony Williams said it was “no secret” he and fellow Anchorsholme ward councillor Paul Galley “have had concerns regarding erosion and failings of the sea wall defences in the north of the coastline.”

He added: ” Several cracks and breaks could be seen quite quite easily from the promenade, in fact it was residents who regularly walk along this stretch who first alerted us to the problems.”

Coun Williams said while repairs had been being carried out until recently, residents had “once again reported movement and erosion of the defences and alerted Paul and myself as well as the council of their concerns.”

Defects in the sea wall first came to light in 2015 during construction – with concerns raised again in 2017.

In June Mr Blackledge confirmed Balfour Beatty had accepted liability for defects and repairs and were designing a long term solution, while carrying out extensive testing.