Repairs needed on £27m Blackpool sea wall completed in 2017

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A £27 million flood defence scheme built to protect Blackpool’s famous seafront is in need of repair – less than a year after it was completed.

The structure at Anchorsholme was officially opened in October last year and designed to safeguard the resort’s famous tramway, reduce the flood risk for 4,800 properties and protect the town’s tourism and recreational income for the next 100 years.

However, repair work is already needed on the project, which was funded by the Environment Agency through Government grant aid.

A spokesman for contractor Balfour Beatty said: “We are aware of some surface damage that has occurred toward the northern end of the Anchorsholme flood defence.

“Balfour Beatty plan to commence work in September to replace the area of damaged revetment.

“Our team have also been investigating water leakage from a joint in the scheme. Whilst this has now subsided, we are continuing to closely monitor the situation to determine what further action may be required.

“Balfour Beatty will ensure the Anchorsholme flood defences remain fully safe and secure at all times.

“Any required remedial works will be undertaken at no additional cost to the taxpayer.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said he would be calling on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to independently investigate after continuing problems were reported.

He said: “Significant amounts of public money went into this scheme and I am worried it appears to deteriorating so soon after work was completed.

“It is important to establish what has gone wrong and for any remedial action to be completed as soon as possible.

“The most important thing is to ensure homes and businesses continue to be protected from flooding and, with the autumn approaching, this is clearly a matter of urgency.

“Whatever has led to this damage, the people of Blackpool should not be left at increased risk or out of pocket as a result.”

Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for environmental services and highways, Fred Jackson, said meetings were being held with Balfour Beatty to agree upon the repair works programme.

He said: “Balfour Beatty is our appointed contractor for design and build and any repair solutions, work and related costs remain their responsibility. This includes the costs of repairing any defects.

“With any project of this size there can be additional work required to rectify any issues. The council is aware that surveys have been carried out that help inform appropriate repair solutions.”

He added: “Despite the work that may be required it is important that we must not lose sight of the huge benefits that the sea wall is providing.

“This significant project is reducing the flood risk to 4,800 properties and businesses in Blackpool. It also safeguards the tramway, road and major pumping station infrastructure on the northern seafront. The long-term benefits accruing from this cannot be under-estimated when looking at the project overall.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The Environment Agency is aware of the issue and ongoing work by Blackpool Council and Balfour Beatty to understand the cause of the problem and to identify appropriate methods of repair.

“In the meantime, the sea walls still reduce flood risk to the 4,800 properties they were designed to protect, as the damage is very localised.”

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