FAQ

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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. We continue to work closely with Historic England and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to ensure these assets are protected.

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 the public and visitors to enjoy.

Are you just building a wall?

The need for a 'wall' has been eliminated through the majority of the scheme through refinement of the principal design, either by reducing secondary defence heights, and/or raising the road levels, so that un-interrupted sea views are maintained. There are a few areas where a vertical defence will be required, such as behind roads and in localised areas such as Speaker's Corner. In these areas the wall heights will be kept as low as possible by combining them with other forms of defences such as the beach. Where space permits, landscaping will also be used to soften the impact of walls. You can see a helpful visual fly-through of the latest designs on the website.

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 were 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.

Do you want to use stepped revetments throughout?

Heritage considerations around Southsea Castle mean that the use of a rock revetment is more appropriate. Similarly, at Long Curtain Moat, safety and heritage considerations mean that a new vertical defence will be installed in front of the existing sea wall to protect this heritage asset from future flood events and erosion risk.
A setback bund and road raising has been designed to provide the flood defence behind Clarence Pier. However, if Clarence Pier was redeveloped in the future, a vertical defence wall could be installed along the waterfront or incorporated into the development.

Are you incorporating soft engineering into the scheme?

Utilising the existing shingle beach is an integral part of the sea defence design, as it helps to take energy out of the waves. Therefore, wherever possible, the current design uses the beach as a component of the flood defence to minimise the height of hard structures and maintain the character of the coastline. Extensive further research on coastal processes is taking place as part of the scheme and will continue throughout the detailed engineering design phase.

Where space allows, grass bunds will be used to provide the secondary defence structures, alongside rock and wooden groynes to assist with future beach management.

Are you improving access and transport provision as part of your scheme?

The funding which has been obtained for the scheme is to build new coastal defences which will protect Portsmouth from a 1 in 200 year flooding event. Any redevelopments or enhancements in this area of coastline sit outside the scope of the scheme. That being said, we have been working closely with the council department working on the Seafront Masterplan to ensure that the scheme designs allow for future aspirations to improve transport links and regenerate areas along the seafront to occur.

Why is there now no coastal defence planned for Eastney Beach?

Through analysis and modelling throughout the scheme, we have determined that the existing beach at Eastney provides an adequate flood defence already and no further action is required. This area will be monitored for the next 50 years and action will be taken if needed.

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?

Should planning and funding permissions be gained, work on the first frontage will begin in 2020. The work will 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 were the previous consultations 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.

This was followed by the preferred options consultation in Summer 2018, which attracted more than 1,700 people who gave their views on the proposed options at each frontage.

February 2019 saw the final stage of public consultation. The 'final option engagement' showed the changes to the principal design as a direct result of feedback gathered from the public. This was also well attended with almost 600 people viewing the exhibition.

What pre-construction consultation have you carried out?

The delivery of stakeholder engagement and consultation as part of the pre-construction phase was undertaken as follows:

• Round 1: Design principles engagement (October/November 2017)
• Round 2: Preferred options consultation (Summer 2018)
• Round 3: Final option engagement (February 2019)

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 took place in February 2019 and gauged the public’s response to the final option in each area along the seafront. The events were attended by 590 people and 232 responses to the survey were received. 75% of respondents indicated overall support for the scheme based on an average across all of the frontages.

We also held an additional set of information events in May 2019 to address some key themes which were raised at the previous events. These were attended by more than 1000 people and focused on the next steps for the scheme.

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 and have been engaging with directly affected businesses throughout the scheme design. If you've not had any engagement with us yet, please email us on southseacoastalscheme@portsmouthcc.gov.uk and we'll arrange to meet you.

Got a question you'd like answering?

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Do you have a question which hasn't been answered in our FAQs?

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

Do you have a question which hasn't been answered in our FAQs?

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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