The Fylde coast’s £86m new sea defences have been given the final seal of approval by government.
Up until now funding had been agreed in principle but council chiefs were still awaiting the agreement to be formally signed off.
Now Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Environment Agency have given the go ahead for the work to build a new sea wall which will protect around 12,000 homes from the threat of flooding.
Chairman of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Coun Derek Antrobus said: “The Rossall and Anchorsholme flood defence scheme is one of the biggest currently planned in the UK, which is fantastic for our region and a really positive step towards making communities living on our coastline as resilient to flooding as possible.”
Blackpool and Wyre Councils have been working in partnership on the scheme to replace sea defences between Rossall Hospital and Rossall Point, and from Kingsway to Little Bispham at Anchorsholme.
Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for urban regeneration at Blackpool Council, said: “We are ecstatic the grant approval letters have arrived for the Anchorsholme Coast Protection Scheme and the work to improve our coastal defences can commence.
“The reconstruction of the seawall is of huge importance and will protect the community of Anchorsholme, their homes, local businesses and highways from flooding and coastal erosion, while improving access to the beach.
“The huge programme of work is expected to be complete in 2015.” Coun Roger Berry, cabinet member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Council, said: “This news is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by all involved and I’m delighted that we can now get started with making vital improvements to our seawall.”
Balfour Beatty is the contractor which has been appointed to carry out the works.
A series of public engagement events detailing the programme of work will be held later this year before construction starts at both sites from January next year.
The work is due to be completed in 2016/2017.
Scheme will protect 12,000 homes
The 1km stretch of sea defences at Anchorsholme will cost £22m.
At Rossall, the work will see 2km of wall replaced at a cost of £64m.
The new defences will protect 12,000 properties in total including 7,500 in Rossall and 4,500 in Anchorsholme as well as vital drainage and transport infrastructure.
The most recent major floods at Anchorsholme occurred in 1927, when six people died, and 1977 when more than 1,800 properties flooded following a breach of the sea defences.
More than 1,500 residents have signed pledges in support of the Rossall scheme.
The Fylde Peninsular Coastal Programme (FPCP) is a partnership between Wyre Council, Blackpool Council, Fylde Council and the Environment Agency.
A £17m bid for 3km from Fairhaven Lake to Church Scar, Lytham, is currently under way.