Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hayling Island: Council urged to install temporary sea defences

Cordoned off sea defences
Image caption The sea defences were cordoned off on Friday

Residents of Hayling Island in Hampshire are urging their council not to leave them "at the mercy of the sea" while it develops a new flood strategy.

Sea defences at West Beach are to be removed after sustaining "significant damage" in Storm Dennis.

Havant Borough Council is developing a long-term flood management plan but said new defences were not appropriate.

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition urging the authority to consider interim protection measures.

The council fenced off the 1970s vertical timber sea defence on Friday but said the weekend's storm had left "large holes right through it".

It said the groynes in front of the structure were still working and retaining existing beach levels.

'Damaged and failing'

A petition launched by resident Mike Owens urges the council to "put in place interim measures to stabilise the situation".

"We remain vulnerable to the ravages of increasingly ferocious storms...This is serious and it's serious right now," Mr Owens said.

The council said its policy since 1997 was not to replace timber structures but remove them when they became unsafe.

It said it had been agreed it was not appropriate to build new defences at West Beach and government funding was only available for protecting coastlines where there was a threat to property or life.

Council leader Michael Wilson said: "We took proactive action on Friday and cordoned off an area around one of the coastal defences.

"This was hammered by the storm and is now damaged and failing, so we will need to remove it.

"We will be developing the long-term plan for this area of our coast and ensuring that it is line with our exciting regeneration strategy."

The authority said accessible parking bays remained shut and council officers would also be reviewing the future of beach huts at the site.

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