Swanage’s temporary flood defences removed as future options progress

The concrete blocks that form a temporary solution to Swanage’s seafront flooding over the winter months are due to be removed this week, as discussions continue over a permanent solution to the problem.

Temporary flood defences have been put in place during the last few winters along the lower High Street from Swanage Pier to the Stone Quay and also by the two boat slipways – one by the square near the Fish Plaice and the other off Shore Road by The Mowlem.

The Environment Agency is expected to remove the blocks with a crane on Wednesday 21st April 2021.

Concrete sea defence blocks back in position
Flood defences moved by sea
Swanage Coastguard

In February 2021 the power of the waves even managed to move the temporary flood defences by the Stone Quay out of position

The sea wall suffers from overtopping

During storms or a combination of high tides and easterly winds, the current sea wall in Swanage suffers from overtopping. This is where waves are driven over the wall causing flooding to local businesses and homes.

There is also the environmental problem of stones, seaweed and beach debris being strewn across the road, pavements and front door steps.

Dorset Council in partnership with BCP Council, Environment Agency, Dorset Coast Forum, Swanage Town Council and the Swanage Coastal Change Forum is now looking at options for all year round coastal flood defences to protect the town’s seafront.

Storm Alex floods road
Gerald Dimarco
Storm Alex leaves debris on road
Gerald Dimarco
Storm Alex closes road
Caroline Abbott

Storm Alex hit Swanage in October 2020 before the temporary flood defences were able to be put in place for the winter and there was flooding and debris.

A better permanent solution

With increasingly frequent storms and rising sea levels, flooding is not just restricted to the winter season so a better permanent solution is being looked at.

Not only are the concrete blocks unsightly, they also restrict access to parts of the beach near Swanage Pier, which isn’t such a problem in the winter but not practical or desirable during the summer.

The new plans include pedestrianising lower High Street in front of the Pier Head Cafe and installing a concrete flood defence disguised as an attractive seating area. There are also proposals to put in similar defences in Shore Road near The Mowlem.

Swanage residents, businesses and organisations who are directly impacted by the proposed flood defences are invited to an online engagement event on Thursday 22nd April 2021 from 2 to 4 pm to find out more about the proposals.

Swanage lower High Street

The concrete blocks in place along lower High Street, where there are proposals to pedestrianise the short stretch of road

Swanage Square

Temporary flood defence in the Square near the fish and chip shops

Swanage seafront in Shore Road

Concrete blocks across the slipway in Shore Road are used to help stop the ground floor of the Mowlem from flooding

“Consulting with key stakeholders”

Dorset Coast Forum, who is hosting the stakeholder meeting said:

“The scheme is in the early stages and this consultation is to incorporate feedback on the impact of the delivery of a proposed flood defence scheme for Swanage.

“The proposed scheme has been designed by flood and coastal erosion risk management authorities and at this stage we are consulting with key stakeholders directly impacted by the possible placement of the flood defences.

“The feedback from this consultation will be included in the outline business case to submit to the Environment Agency for funding to deliver a flood defence scheme. If funding is obtained, there will be further consultation with the wider community and specific groups as the scheme is developed.”

To register for the online engagement meeting on Thursday 22nd April from 2 to 4 pm, those directly affected by flooding in Swanage are asked to email dorset.coast@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

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