£22m sea wall plan clears new hurdle

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A £22.5m scheme to restore a sea defence in Blackpool’s northern suburbs has been approved by council chiefs.

Blackpool Council’s Executive rubber stamped the project in a meeting at the Town Hall.

Work on the sea wall at Anchorsholme is set to begin in November, subject to funds being allocated.

The scheme is being run jointly with Wyre and Fylde Councils.

Coun Fred Jackson, deputy leader, chaired the meeting in the absence of leader Coun Simon Blackburn, who was away on council business.

He told the meeting: “I am very pleased to be bringing this one to cabinet.

“We still haven’t got the official final acknowledgement the money is being allocated to us but there will be a lot of disappointment if it isn’t.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the officers and everybody working on this scheme.

“It’s been a good partnership and we’re working extremely well with Wyre and Fylde councils.”

Coun Jackson added progress was also being made on plans to ensure contractors working on the defences take on apprentices as part of their deal.

He said: “One of the things we’re trying to do as well is ensure the contractors who are put in place take on Blackpool people through apprenticeships, and we think that will definitely be the case here.”

Speaking to The Gazette after the meeting, which took place on Monday evening, Coun Jackson added: “It’s the completion of sea defences which has taken a long while.

“We do expect the apprenticeship scheme to be done as well.

“We’re inviting everybody who has a contract with us to work together to allow this to take place.”

The scheme will also involve the rebuilding of the sea defences at Rossall - with an estimated £55m set to be invested on that stretch of the coastline alone.

The 1km stretch at Anchorsholme will see a new 10-metre high sea wall built, meaning it will be up to 2.1 metres higher than the existing wall, while the Fleetwood stretch will be just above 11 metres high, an increase of about half a metre, covering a 2km stretch.

The Fleetwood scheme will also incorporate a two-tier promenade, access points to the beach and the reintroduction of areas of vegetation.

Neither scheme will see any changes made to the alignment of the coastline.