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Tarmac beach

£3m new coastal defences announced for Porthcawl’s town beach

5 September 2017

Ageing sea defences at Porthcawl’s town beach are set for a £3m refurbishment following news that Welsh Government has approved a funding bid from Bridgend County Borough Council.

The work will establish a new terraced design with a sand-coloured surface, and will ensure that 260 seafront properties and businesses worth millions of pounds, including the historic Grand Pavilion, will continue to be protected from flooding and coastal erosion.

Known locally as the ‘tarmac beach’, the current sea defences were constructed in 1984 to combat repeated incidents of flooding throughout the seafront area and in John Street.

When an inspection found that the defences were deteriorating and in need of urgent replacement, the council approached Welsh Government, who agreed to cover £2.3m of the overall cost with the authority making up the remaining £700,000.

Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This significant investment from the Welsh Assembly is excellent news for Porthcawl, and will enable Bridgend County Borough Council to continue to protect the town centre and seafront area while also offering a more visually pleasing ‘terraced’ design for the sea defences themselves.

“Over the years, the ‘tarmac beach’ has been highly effective in preventing flooding on the scale that older residents may still recall. Now that it is nearing the end of its natural life, it needs to be replaced, but updating it will be an extremely challenging and time-consuming feat of coastal engineering.

“This ambitious, year-long project will need to take account of issues such as unpredictable weather patterns and changing maritime conditions, but it will be more than worth the effort.

“When it is finished, residents can expect to see an all-new sand-coloured surface that slopes gently towards a series of narrow terraces leading down to the water’s edge.

“As well as being far easier on the eye, the new defences have been specially designed to provide effective protection against flooding and erosion.

“Every effort will be made to minimise inconvenience while the work is underway, and the project will also deliver additional benefits, including new jobs and training opportunities, as well as supporting local businesses.

“The contract for the work is currently being finalised, and I am looking forward to being able to reveal more details of the scheme and how it will be introduced very soon.”

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I am pleased to be able to provide this vital funding to strengthen sea defences in Porthcawl, which will provide reassurance to those who live and work in, or visit this popular tourist destination.

“We have invested unprecedented levels of funding in recent years and over the lifetime of this Government we will be investing over £144million capital funding in flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes around Wales.”

Last Updated: 05/09/2017
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