Hill Head Sea Defence Phase 2

“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.”

Follow up works

Fareham Borough Council will be undertaking follow up works in the proximity of the Hill Head Sea Wall from the 18th June for approximately one week.

How will I be affected?

The promenade will remain open during the works. Some of the walkway, particularly on the eastern end, will be narrower as parts of the promenade will be fenced off.

What will I see?

The barrier rail at the eastern end will temporarily be removed to allow the repair to be undertaken. The standpipe and tap at the eastern end will be moved into the shingle planter to reduce water flow onto the promenade. At the western end, areas of grass verge will be re-seeded. Gabion stone which has become exposed during beach loss over the winter will be removed as well as a beach walkover to remove any further construction debris.

Please keep your safety in mind when walking close to construction traffic.

Feedback Event - May/June 2018

 The £1m project funded by Fareham Borough Council which will protect the coastline from the effects of extreme weather and sea level rise, was completed in December 2017. 

We would love to hear your thoughts on the new defences and the construction work undertaken in 2017. We are having a feedback event at the Titchfield Haven from the 29th of May until Sunday the 3rd of June. 

Feedback forms will be available with a display of project information. Members of the project team will available between 9am and 12pm on Tuesday the 29th of May, and from 1pm until 5pm on Thursday the 31st of May.  To download the feedback form, click here or visit the related documents tab.

We hope to see you there.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and support throughout the work. We hope you will really enjoy the new defences and the benefits they bring.


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.” 

Project Timeline

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.


Environmental Consideration

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.  

Barrier Rail

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.

Protecting wildlife

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.

Barrier rail

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.

Storm Aileen

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.

Next Steps

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.     

Protected animals

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 info@escp.org.uk.

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.  
To minimise these risks a stainless steel hand barrier will be installed on the upstand.

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.

If you would like further information on the Hill Head Coastal Protection Scheme, please email coastal.team@havant.gov.uk or visit Fareham Borough Council's website

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