Agenda item

The purpose of this report is to provide Committee with the information requested for its programmed enquiry into particular elements of the Council’s Seafront Service.


This Committee’s enquiry into this subject may be supported by the Deputy Leader, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance.




The Committee heard how in 2014 the Council instigated a £36 million coastal defence project stretching from Clacton Pier to Holland on Sea in partnership with the Environment Agency. Not only had that protected the coastline, it had led to the creation of 23 new sand beaches which provided a major opportunity for tourism development.


The Committee also heard that in 2016 the pre-construction phase started to stabilise the cliff between Hazelmere and Queensway, the pre-construction phase consisted of ground investigations, numerous surveys, obtaining planning permission, producing detailed designs, producing tender documents, obtaining tenders, and appointing a contractor in line with the procurement policy. The construction of the project commenced on 28/08/18 and was completed on 28/06/19 at a cost of £4.3 million. The project stabilised a 500m length of coastal slopes by temporarily removing 83 beach huts, excavating to construct a new piled slope retaining wall and new steel piled retaining wall at the base of the slope to provide a stable shelf for the beach huts to be returned. The scheme also included new drainage and Equality Act compliant ramped from the top promenade to the lower promenade.


The scheme was identified in the Clacton & Holland Geomorphological Assessment and Conceptual report 2015 produced by Mott MacDonald. The report had identified the areas most at risk of failure between Clacton Pier and Holland Haven. The report also suggested a detailed slope stability study of the cliffs to be carried out at a cost of £225,000. Based on that estimate the suggested cost to carry out detailed slope stability studies on all the cliffs the Council was responsible for would be approximately £700,000.


With the assistance of the Assistant Director for Building & Public Realm and Mr David Clarke of Hestur Limited (the Council’s contractor for the current cliff stabilisation works), the Committee considered the risk factors for the cliffs in the area and the measures to reduce the risks and otherwise undertake works to stabilise the cliffs for the future.  The aim would be to achieve cliffs with a sustainable factor of safety of 1.0.  Mr Hestor advised that neighbouring cliffs to those currently being stabilised could fail with a marginal deterioration of the factor of safety.  The works being undertaken were using techniques to reduce vibration and therefore not themselves cause the factor of safety to worsen in those neighbouring cliffs.  He also advised that the current stabilisation works could be completed by December 2021 (although it had provided for them to be completed by March 2022 to allow for adverse weather impacts).  The Assistant Director for Building & Public Realm referenced an initial visual overview of the slopes from the Pier to Holland Haven confirmed some were at more risk of failure and the bowed railings and cracked promenade in places were some of the indicators to this.  He further advised that the original pitch-fibre drainage system was still in place in the cliffs although its effectiveness had likely deteriorated.


The Members heard how there were currently 3,040 beach huts directly under the operation and management of Tendring District Council.  The Seafronts team managed the beach hut service, which strived to ensure continued popularity of Beach Huts in Tendring, continually improve seafront appearance and generate revenue to reinvest.  A further £64,000 worth of proposed improvements/additions to the Beach Huts would be coming forward in the near future.


In response to questions from the Members of the Committee, the Assistant Director for Building & Public Realm agreed to provide them with the detail of the improvement works over the last 5 years for Seafronts Assets and Infrastructure and the Clacton & Holland Geomorphological Assessment and Conceptual report of 2015 produced by Mott McDonald.  The wish for these to be part of the public record was requested by Members of the Committee. 


The point was also made that the extent of railings along the seafront promenade provided the Council with numerous opportunities to advertise issues, events and services.


After a detailed discussion the Committee RECOMMENDED to CABINET that:


a.    where observation reveals cliff slippages, all communication with Beach Hut Licensees in respect of Cliff Stabilisation and safety, is consistently shared with the relevant District Ward Councillors.


b.    the undertaking of a survey of cliff vulnerability across the 26 kilometres of coast line for which is this Council’s responsibility and beach levels in the 23 bays created in 2013/14 in the Clacton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea areas be undertaken as an imperative piece of work in the next few months and thereby address the concerns raised by the Committee on 22 June 2020 (Minute 62 refers) and on 21 September 2020 (Minute 85 refers).


The Chairman thanked the Portfolio Holder and the relevant Officers for their contributions to the Committee’s enquiry.


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