WORK to rebuild part of a failed section of Milford sea wall will be “wasted time, money and effort” if additional improvements are not carried out, a petition has warned.
Signed by more than 350 people, the petition was launched by Save Milford From the Sea (SMFTS), which fears residents will be charged to fix part of it.
The first phase of a New Forest District Council-led £1.9m project to address faults focuses only on a 180m stretch.
Another 90m of the wall affected is not being improved for the time being but is scheduled to happen as part of phases two and three of the project in the next two years.
However, SMFTS members have pointed out New Forest District Council will need to be successful in applying for central government money for those phases to happen, and they might be asked to fund some of it themselves.
“We understand without funding for the phases two and three of the programme to defend the coastline at Westover, the patching up currently taking place will be wasted time, money and effort.
“We urgently need EA [Environment Agency] funding to complete the defence of the whole stretch of coastline, including the 90m which are currently being left undefended. To this end, we have started the petition to show support for the NFDC in their applications for funding,” the petition said.
SMFTS added: “This is critical for protecting the homes of dozens of local residents, restoring the scenic coastal path and safeguarding the social and economic future of the village.”
As reported in the A&T, the project moved ahead after a report by NFDC contractor Jacobs highlighted the failure of a 270m section of the concrete protection.
Should nothing be done, the Jacobs report went on, around 50 properties – including the White House – were at “imminent risk” this winter. It suggested stabilising the wall, compensating for the loss of beach material, and installing protective boulders.
NFDC was initially reluctant to intervene because it claimed it did not own the land concerned and had no legal responsibility. However, in recent weeks it has committed to underwriting the cost of the initial scheme to install an 8,500-tonne rock structure to protect up to 180 metres of the wall.
The NFDC appointed contractor Earlcoate Construction, based in Fordingbridge, to undertake the work, which is already well under way, with clusters of large boulders being delivered by barge and installed for extra protection.