“The aim of this project is to develop, design and build a cost effective sea defence option, at Hill Head in Fareham, which maintains amenity and leisure access along this frontage for the lifetime of the structure.”
Completion of new seawall and promenade at Hill Head
The barrier rail along Hill Head promenade has now been installed, marking the completion of a £1m project which will protect the popular stretch of coastline from the effects of extreme weather and sea level rise.
The project has involved construction of a new and improved seawall, beach replenishment, extensive timber groyne maintenance as well as an improved amenity area.
Cllr Keith Evans, Fareham Executive Member for Planning and Development said:
"I’m delighted this project has been completed. The works represent a significant commitment by Fareham Borough Council to maintain and improve this much-loved stretch of our coastline and ensure residents can continue to enjoy it well into the future.”
Why was the work done?
Beach levels have fallen at Hill Head since 2012 exposing the seawalls to additional wave action. Records show that storm frequency is increasing with 18 storms in the last 3 years. This is likely to continue and is contributing to beach erosion and seawall deterioration. As a result the old seawall had reached the end of its serviceable life and was no longer able to withstand this increased wave action, failing regularly, leading to expensive repairs.
The ESCP consider the environment at every stage of coastal management, from developing coastal policy within strategies and plans, to carrying out works on the ground.
The foreshore is a designated RAMSAR, Special Protection Area, Site of Special Scientific Interest and an important site for wading and waterfowl birds. Rare species of bird visit this coastline as they migrate across Europe and internationally. They rely on the coastal environment at Hill Head to feed and rest during their lengthy seasonal migrations.
Therefore the construction period was limited, with works only permitted between the 1st April and the 30th November to avoid over wintering bird disturbance.
We have had an experienced ornithologist onsite to monitor bird disturbances for 407.5 hours between August and November.
October Progress Update
Re-opening of the Hill Head seawall promenade
Construction works are coming to an end on the Hill Head promenade.
Site Works Completion
The last of the concrete for the promenade was poured on Friday 6th October 2017. The site compound is beginning to clear and final works are being completed such as the installation of benches and street furniture as well as surfacing works.
The promenade and part of the car park are expected to re-open at the earliest opportunity once the site has been cleared and is safe for public use. The grassed area opposite Hill Head Sailing club will remain closed off to allow the grass to re-seed.
A peer review of the approved design, confirmed that the upstand seawall requires a stainless steel barrier rail for safety. As part of the completion works a temporary barrier will be put in place along the promenade edge and steps, while off-site fabrication of the stainless steel barrier rail is undertaken.
Once ready, contractors will install the barrier rail from mid to late November. The intention is to keep the promenade open during this period provided it is safe to do so.
September Progress Update
The end of August saw the first sections of sea wall cast using a steel mould into which concrete was poured (photo below). Over half of the wall is now complete and we are constructing the remaining sections, including the drainage through the wall from the promenade.
Updated completion date
We are working hard to reopen the promenade. However, there have been some delays on site resulting in the completion date being moved back to the end of October. The significant majority of the concrete wall works should be ready by the end of September, leaving only the prom walkway, access steps and barrier rail to complete.
The delays on site have meant we’ve needed to agree extensions to our environmental licences. We will have daily environmental monitoring during October to make sure we are not disturbing the wildlife in the area with the remaining works.
Whilst there has been overwhelming support for the new seawall, the original barrier rail design was not welcomed by some community groups. In response, a peer review of the design was commissioned, which has confirmed the need for a barrier rail. The report is available to view on the Council website. Further updates will follow as the works progress and once the first section of promenade walkway have been completed.
Monday the 11th of September saw the first named storm of the season hit the UK – Storm Aileen. The worst of the strong winds passed during low tide at Hill Head without incident and the works were unaffected. The concrete cladding is in, and the upstand wall is really starting to take shape on site.
August Progress Update
Important milestone reached
Work has progressed well on the replacement seawall. All 150 meters of the metal sheet piles have now been put in the ground. These will provide support for the seawall and make sure that the concrete stays in place when it is poured in.
Now the sheet piles are in place the pouring of concrete can now start. The work will run from east to west (heading towards the Sailing Club). At each section of sea wall the concrete will be poured in several stages. The new promenade slabs and steps to the beach being added last. These works will continue through to September.
Following the concrete works, street furniture be installed, along with landscaping to the widened kink area.
Due to the environmental designations in place in this area, we have been monitoring the site during the construction for disruption to the protected animals such as badgers. We are pleased to report that there has been no additional disturbance, and the works can continue to proceed as planned.
Find out more
We thank you for your patience while construction is ongoing and the car park and beach are closed. We would like to reassure you that we are seeking to minimise noise and disruption as much as we can.
Should you have any questions or would like to find out more about the scheme, please do not hesitate to make contact via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why are we doing Phase 2?
- Phase 2 site preparation will start on 26th July and start construction on the 3rd July 2017 and continue for 13 weeks. The promenade will be closed during this period.
- The existing gabion basket and concrete bagwork seawalls are unsuitable defences for an exposed coastal location
- The seawalls have reached the end of their serviceable life and cannot withstand exposure to storm wave action
- Increased frequency of storm events over the last 3 years has contributed to beach erosion and seawall deterioration, a trend that will continue
- Doing nothing risks the loss of the much loved promenade and beach huts in the short term and Cliff Road and residential properties in the long term
- This replacement seawall will reduce the risk of erosion to the cliff, keep the promenade open all year and will reduce damage to beach huts in severe weather conditions.
Important information to consider during construction
- During construction, the promenade and some walk ways will be closed with diversion routes set up
- Some beach huts will not be accessible from the 26th July and throughout construction – you will be contacted by the council if this affects you
- The car park will be closed as this will be home to the temporary offices
- We ask for general safety to be taken when near the construction with children and dogs so they do not enter the site area during construction hours. We also ask that you refrain from using the lower beach below the works as this may affect the birds that use the tidal area of this environmentally designated area.
Phase 2 preferred option
The preferred option is to build a sheet pile wall with concrete capping beam. The key features include:
- Widens the promenade by approximately 1.5 metres (5 feet), improving public access along the frontage
- Straightens out the “kink” in the promenade, a known weak spot
- Provides an increased wall height by 0.6m (2 feet). This will address the current wave overtopping which has made the promenade impassable in previous storms and helps to protect the beach huts
- The preferred option includes a barrier rail on top of the upstand, which we are working with our contractor to reduce the visual intrusion of Regulations, which came into force in 2015, state that there is a statutory requirement for designers to consider foreseeable risks and reduce these over the 50 year life of the structure. Due to the beach level changes that can occur with storm events at Hill Head, a drop to the beach from the promenade level is a foreseeable risk.
Artist impression of the proposed increased promenade with barrier rail and sea wall replacement.
Key advantages of the Phase 2 preferred option
- The beach huts can remain in place for the duration of the works
- This option has the least environmental impacts on the designated foreshore, birds and local badger
- Shortest construction duration, minimising impacts to the local area
- Simplest construction methods
- The sheet pile wall is the most cost effective option
- The existing seawall can be partially encapsulated within the new seawall, without the need for significant demolition
A Phase 2 leaflet is available here.
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