Seawall repair could cost over £2m

By Emily Pearce

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Seawall repair could cost over £2m

The Totland seawall. Picture courtesy of HM Coastguard.

CONCERNS have been raised about the cost of repairing an Isle of Wight seawall, after experts said the bill could reach more than £2m.

Totland seawall collapsed following a landslip just over a year ago and has remained cordoned off since then.

Geotechnical consultants Mott MacDonald, appointed by the Isle of Wight Council at a cost of £18,000, have examined the site and their report was published today (Thursday).

A petition signed by 4,202 people calling for the popular walking route to be repaired, was presented to Isle of Wight councillors yesterday (Wednesday).

Mott MacDonald found prolonged heavy rainfall caused a 120m stretch of the wall to collapse and pushed it 20m towards the sea.

Future landslides cannot be ruled out, however, the report recommends shoring up the landslip with a rock revetment, extending to Totland Pier, and installing cliff drainage.

The repairs would cost £2.1m and even with Environment Agency funding — which would require further geotechnical evidence, likely to cost between £50,000 and £100,000 to gather — the Isle of Wight Council would still face £1.5m bill.

Cabinet member for public protection Cllr Phil Jordan said: "We understand the considerable public interest in Totland sea wall which is why we felt it was important to publish the report and arrange the information event so that residents can understand the complex issues that we as a council must consider.

"We are pleased with the level of detail within the report and are working with officers to consider the findings before discussing the matter with the cabinet.

"If a decision is taken to repair the seawall and re-establish public access to the area, the cabinet will need to consider how the Isle of Wight Council would be able to fund the repair costs in the context of the current severe budget pressures it is facing.

"We are now in receipt of a petition signed by over 4,000 residents and will be looking at the points raised as we consider this section of coastline."

Campaigners have said it is 'absolutely crucial' the sea wall is repaired, and claim it would be worth the money in the long term.

A public information event will be held at Freshwater Memorial Hall, between 2pm and 8pm next Wednesday, with Isle of Wight Council officers and Mott MacDonald representatives.

The report is due to go before the cabinet for consideration and is available at

It will also be debated by full council because the petition was signed by more than 2,500 people, in line with council policy.



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Displaying the last 10 of 27 comments - Show All Comments

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by phil jordan

2nd February 2014, at 11:15:45

If you have studied the Coastal Management Plan you will see that there are differing approaches to 'sea defence' around the Islands Coastline.
Do nothing is one option and is perfectly suitable for certain stretches of Coast.
It is not necessarily suitable for other stretches of coastline which need to be 'defended' of the 'line' held.
No one is suggesting "controlling Nature......" what is being suggested is repair of an existing sea defence.
In making decisions of this nature we must be able to assess the costs of not doing the well as know the cost of doing the work.
Sea defences are widely used around the world.
I'm not sure that just doing nothing to sea defences anywhere, at anytime, is the correct approach.

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by Mike Crowe

1st February 2014, at 16:46:00


Why, WHy, WHY waste money trying to control nature?

Leave it as it is .

"OVER"come it.

Nature WILL win.

Who do you think you are that YOU will overcome it?

How long has nature been about?

How long have you, the body trying to beat nature, been about?

A nano second

Leave it as it is and make a "scrambling walkway" over it.

Don't like that idea?

Turn the clock back then.

Let me know when you are going to do that, I would love to see it.


This posting WILL be removed by the County Press but I hope a few are able to read it and comment on it before they do.


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by phil jordan

31st January 2014, at 22:41:39

Just to add...... I very much would welcome as many people as we can encourage to come and talk to us at the Memorial Hall next Wednesday and to express their ideas and wishes as well as talk to the 'experts' about the failure and the problems as well as the project options.
Consultants and Coastal Management engineers will be on hand to help, assist and answer queries. There may be further information on display as well. We have tried to organise this event to give the widest spectrum of people the opportunity to attend... please take advantage of it.

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by phil jordan

31st January 2014, at 22:35:03

Part of the remedial works include installing drainage to the higher cliff ground. The failure resulted in no small way to the amount of water in that ground area.
There are no guarantees, whatever is done, that further failures might not occur.
Funding, if achieved is likely to be around one third of total cost of the project.
A detailed project report costing around £125,000 will be needed to make a grant application. It does not guarantee success in being awarded the grant funding.
Any Capital borrowing will impact the £28M budget shortfall we currently face over three years by about 10% pa of the total capital borrow.

This is a difficult decision to make... there is no guarantee it will not happen again and the Capital cost is extensive under current financial restraints.
I do very much hope we can find the right solution for this extensive failure. The task is daunting.

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by Philip Yates

31st January 2014, at 13:35:55

So wheres the chalk cliff then ??

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by Mike Crowe

31st January 2014, at 13:26:15

Alan. Wrong

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by alan naylor

31st January 2014, at 12:49:47

My report and findings regarding cliff movment ,,, Due to heavy rain and frozen water. which everyone knows swells duing a thaw has forced the already unstable chalk cliff to fall this report is for free

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by Patrick Hall

31st January 2014, at 09:12:03

I don't profess to be a geologist, but common sense tells me that there is a band of blue slipper (gault) clay underlying the more stable geology on the coast at Totland. When it gets wet, the blue slipper swells, destablising the formation above, then the cliffs tumble. The huge forces generated by the swollen blue slipper are graphically illustrated by the photograph above, showing how the entire sea wall has been thrust out. Sorry to sound defeatist, but nature will win in the end, no matter how much money is thrown at the problem.

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by Deborah Wagstaff

30th January 2014, at 20:32:58

Needs sorting as soon as possible, This ruining tourism and business here, These consultants need to look at the Colwell Bay side too, This winter has made that slide start to pull away too. Only a matter of time.

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by alan naylor

30th January 2014, at 19:40:51

Slope it all down to the sea with bulldozers and start again then there will be nothing left to slip mother nature will do that any way over time just do it first ps move those expensive brightly colured beach huts first

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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