Why was a 'hold the line' policy for the coastal scheme been adopted, instead of alternatives like 'managed realignment'?

A rigorous process of technical, environmental, social and economic appraisal was undertaken in order to identify the most appropriate approach for coastal defence in the region. Its findings overwhelmingly showed that due to Southsea’s specific characteristics such as its large population density, internationally important heritage, and regionally beneficial economic circumstances the most appropriate course of action is to maintain the coastline in its current position.

How will the new defences affect Southsea’s unique and important heritage?

Any change to the location of the coastline and its defences would require the removal of much of the heritage and seafront attractions that make Southsea the unique place it is. Our policy of maintaining the coastline's current location allows us to protect and secure the location of the important heritage structures. Any monuments or structures that have to be removed during construction will be reinstated in their original positions. If this is not achievable, they will be located as close to their original positions as possible.

How will the new defences affect events held on the common?

It is a key aim of the scheme to preserve the well-loved open space character of the common, maintaining the city’s ability to hold a wide range of important events. Any alternative which used purely soft engineering in this area would require a large structure running through the common which would interrupt its open character and allow erosion of a large part of it to occur, significantly impacting its intrinsic nature and current usage.

Are you removing the beach and replacing it with concrete?

No. The beach is a significant asset to the city and an important part of its character. Beach retaining structures and methods such as groynes and beach management will be used in many areas to ensure the beach is kept healthy and maintained for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Are you just building a wall?

The need for a 'wall' has been eliminated through the majority of the scheme, either by reducing secondary defence height, and/or raising the road levels, so that interrupted sea views are maintained. There are a few areas where a vertical defence with the road behind could exist, primarily in the localised area of Speaker's Corner going towards South Parade Pier, and also potentially at the Eastney end of the scheme, however the height of these will be kept as low as possible by combining them with other forms of defences. The illustrations that been shared on social media overestimate the level changes required and do not take into account the work described above to minimise the impacts on sea views.

Can you not build a defence at the back of Southsea Common, or through the middle of it?

To maintain the unique character of the area, Southsea Common needs to be defended as part of the scheme. The options for building a bund or dyke, as a primary or secondary defence, through or at the back of the Common have been investigated but have been discounted. Any bund or dyke in this location would have to be at least 3 metres high to protect Southsea from major flood events. The sides of the bund would need to be sloped, making a large area of the Common unusable for recreation and holding major events. To stop the common being lost to erosion, the existing ageing sea wall would still need to be replaced.

Can you not build the secondary defence at the back of the road in other areas?

This is something being considered in many areas, and combined with the raising of the road and prom it means a reduction in secondary defence heights throughout the scheme.

Do you want to use stepped revetments throughout?

Heritage considerations around Southsea Castle mean that the use of a rock revetment would be more appropriate. Similarily, at Long Curtain moat, safety and heritage considerations mean that the use of a vertical defence is being examined.

At Eastney, the level changes are relatively small so a vertical defence (combined with promenade height increase) is being considered to avoid impacting the unique habitats in that area. A set-back bund is being considered for the Clarence Pier area, however we are aware that an on-line flood defence route is also an option.

Are you incorporating soft engineering into the scheme?

The existing shingle on the beach is an integral part of any future sea defence plan, as it helps to take energy out of the waves. Extensive further research on coastal processes is taking place as part of the scheme. The information will help to maintain a healthy beach in areas where one is now. Some realignment of the existing coastline and grass bunds are being considered in areas where space allows, alongside structures such as wooden and rock groynes which will assist with beach management in future.

Are you considering the impact on the local economy?

The scheme should be a catalyst which enables regeneration and provides a boost to the visitor economy, not affect it negatively. Any final designs for the scheme will ensure they facilitate future enhancements and improvements for the area for the enjoyment of resident and visitors, in line with the new Local Plan. In addition, we are fully committed to protecting Southsea Common so that the city can continue to host world class events on the seafront.

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When is construction work due to begin?

If the appropriate permission are gained and funding approved by central government, we'd look to start work in 2019. The work would then be phased along the seafront, with the last section being completed in 2026.

I've seen in that a flood defence scheme in Blackpool is having problems. Is the Southsea scheme the same design?

Our engineering design is not being based on the sea defence project in Blackpool/Cleveleys/Anchorsholme, for the following reasons:

- The coastline in the north west of England is very different, with a much bigger tidal range than Southsea (9 metres compared to 5.5 metres). In addition, our shingle beaches are not comparable (in terms of material and profile) with the sandy beaches in Anchorsholme.

- The issue at Anchorsholme has happened to units at the very bottom of the sloped revetment, which are routinely 2.0m below high tide level (so twice a day). Our stepped revetments are not going to be placed in the normal condition tidal zone at all. Protection within the tidal zone for the revetments will be provided by either by the existing beach, rock armour or a combination of both.

- The approach we've taken with the design of the Southsea scheme is also very different. In Anchorsholme, the issue is occuring at an interface between 2 different projects that were built with different design and delivery teams. As our project will be designed and delivered by a unified delivery team as a single project, these interface areas will be an integral part of the detailed design.

- All engineering solutions proposed by Balfour Beatty and/or the Arup/Ramboll design team are subject to continual critical assessment by in-house engineers from the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership. This means that we can identify and work through issues at the design stage, and not during or following construction.

As such, it is impossible to make a comparison between the two schemes.

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When was the previous consultation carried out?

A non-statutory public consultation ran for 8 weeks, from 3rd November 2014 to the 29th December 2014. This provided the public with the opportunity to view and comment on the short list of coastal defence options being proposed for Southsea. Nearly 500 people attended the events.

The four exhibition events were held towards the end of November 2014, at the Square Tower, the D-Day Museum and two at the Royal Beach Hotel.

A total of 471 people attended the exhibition events, showing a strong interest in the scheme from the local community.

We also held a series of public engagement events at the end of October 2017 to re-introduce the scheme to the public. Nearly 700 people attended.

What are the plans for consultation during pre-construction?

Delivery of stakeholder engagement and consultation will be undertaken as follows:

• Round 1: Design principles engagement (October/November 2017)
• Round 2: Preferred options consultation (July/August 2018)
• Round 3: Final option engagement (Winter 2018)

Round 1, design principles engagement: This took place from the 25th October until 22nd November 2017 with an aim to re-introduce the scheme to residents and understand their aspirations for the area. 678 people attended 5 consultation events. 1,225 responses to the survey, both online and in writing, were received.

Round 2, preferred options consultation: This took place from 4th July until 27th August 2018. This was a preferred option consultation which gauged the public’s appetite for the emerging designs with significant options in many areas, and provided an explanation for the discounting of other options. Exhibition materials included a scheme fly-through and a 360 degree viewer, which were also made available for an online audience. Over 1700 people attended 8 consultation events and 3 interactive design workshops.

Round 3, final option engagement: This will take place in November and will gauge the public’s response to the final option.

I run a business on the seafront. When will I be consulted?

We've attempted to contact all businesses on the seafront by post or phone. If you've not spoken to us yet, please email us on southseacoastalscheme@portsmouthcc.gov.uk and we'll arrange to meet you.

Got a question you'd like answering?

Go to the 'Get Involved' page and send us your question, we'll get back to you and then add it on to here!

Got a question you'd like answering?

Go to the 'Get Involved' page and send us your question, we'll get back to you and then add it on to here!

Got a question you'd like answering?

Go to the 'Get Involved' page and send us your question, we'll get back to you and then add it on to here!

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