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.

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.

Got a question you'd like answering?

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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 going forward?

We'll be holding further consultation events on our ideas in early summer 2018, followed by further events in autumn 2018 on our final proposals.

Will the standard of public consultation be reduced as a result of the postponement?

The scheme remains committed to full public engagement on options regarding how to rebuild the sea defences in Southsea, as we understand that without good consultation we will not achieve a good solution. This will build on the initial round of consultation in 2014, and the public engagement events held in the autumn of 2017 where the scheme was reintroduced to residents following the confirmation of government funding for design development.

During the next phase of consultation in early summer 2018, feedback will be sought from residents on a number of options on key parts of the frontage. A range of methods will be used to ensure we reach as many residents as possible to gain their feedback, including:

- Exhibition events at locations across Southsea and the wider city. They will include graphics and video animations of the various options available, with experts from the team on hand to answer questions.

- Pre-bookable interactive workshops, where different aspects of the scheme can be interrogated thoroughly, and the opportunities and constraints the scheme faces can be explored in detail.

- All consultation materials, along with the feedback survey will be made available online so we can reach a wide range of audiences.

An integrated marketing campaign will take place in the weeks preceding the consultation to make sure we reach as many stakeholders as possible.

Feedback given will be incorporated into the final proposed design, for which there will be another series of consultation events held before submission for planning permission in late 2018.

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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