Portsmouth City Council approves Southsea sea defence scheme
A £131m scheme to bolster a city's sea defences has been conditionally approved by councillors.
The project includes building walls, raising land and widening beaches along a 4.5km (2.8 mile) stretch of coastline in Southsea, Hampshire.
Portsmouth City Council planning officer Alan Banting said some defences were in a critical condition, creating a "significant risk to life".
The council hopes to finish construction in 2026.
Mr Banting told a meeting of councillors there had been three serious coastal defence breaches in the last six years.
He said these included a "critical failure" of part of the sea wall next to the Pyramids Centre in December 2015.
An extreme flood event, raising the water level by 4m (13 feet), would affect more than 8,000 homes and 700 businesses, he added.
Protest group Southsea Seafront Campaign previously objected to plans for a "concrete rampart, mostly replacing the beach", along the length of the scheme.
The council's revised project includes reduced defence heights and the use of widened beaches, which will require future maintenance.
A new wall in front of a scheduled monument at Long Curtain Moat would create "substantial harm" to its appearance but this would be outweighed by the public benefit, Mr Banting said.
Clarence Pier would not be protected by the scheme because no feasible solution could be found, the meeting was told.
The council said it had bid for £107m of government funding, of which £82m had already been approved.
The first phase of work, at Long Curtain Moat, is due to start in the spring of 2020.