Plans to strengthen town’s sea wall flood defences

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Lymington sea wall
Flood defences are planned between the Royal Lymington yacht Club and the slipway (Photo: Google)

PLANS are being drawn up to strengthen sea wall flood defences in Lymington to protect waterfront properties.

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The scheme, which is still in the design phase, is being led by the Environment Agency and would boost an area by Bath Road car park, between the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and the slipway.

The repair work was revealed in a report to the ruling cabinet of New Forest District Council, which is likely to fund part of the construction. It has set aside £400,000 for spending in 2020/21.

Modelling had shown a flooding risk to at least 13 homes and 12 businesses there, it said, with research ongoing into concerns that more could be under threat.

There would be consultation with the RLYC and the harbour commissioners, the report promised, which both have “aspirations” for the area that might “generate opportunities for delivering the works”.

More information and costs will emerge when it is discussed in more detail by councillors on NFDC’s environment overview and scrutiny panel at some point during the 2020/21 financial year.

The Environment Agency said the sea wall scheme was one of two initiatives it was considering to reduce flood risk between Hurst Spit and Lymington.

They are being planned in partnership with New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council and Natural England.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said the second was a longer-term project exploring a “sustainable future” for flooding and erosion on the wider coastal frontage. It is likely to take years to decide but consultation is expected to begin in the spring.

He said: “There are a number challenges facing this coastline now and in the future including sea level rise, climate change, increased flood risk and the loss of intertidal habitats.

“The project is still in the very early stages and, due to its scale and complexity, it will take time to develop. It will, however, involve significant engagement with stakeholders to help us develop the project. We aim to begin the engagement with wider stakeholders spring 2020.

“The Hurst Spit to Lymington project will require substantial investment to be secured from a range of sources.

“It is likely to be several years before we fully understand if/when construction could take place.”

As reported in the A&T, residents may have to pay more council tax to get coastal defences built near their homes, under NFDC’s new strategy for funding shoreline protection.

It was drawn up last year in response to the government making less money available for lower-priority schemes. Councils must now try to involve other groups and match-fund the cash they need from Whitehall.

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