Flood Defences-BERA

Flood Defences

Council Letter re Shoebury Sea Wall (Click here)

On 12th July there was a meeting on sea defences.  At that meeting Southend Council asked that our member and ward councillor,Martin Terry, continues to be Chairman of the stakeholders meeting.  We can now state that the old Conservative proposals for a sea wall across Shoebury Common are definitely dead and buried.  The Council’s consultants, who were appointed under our Chairman Ron Woodley’s administration, are still conducting a review of the need for sea defences and the possible solutions.  The review includes examination of the existing sea wall from the Coastguards to the Yacht Club; this will involve some drilling near some beach huts to check the state of the wall foundations. Nearby hut owners will be given advanced waring of the work which will not start before mid-September and take about 2 weeks. The council hope to come up with new proposals in the autumn which will be subject to wide consultations in which we will ensure members are fully involved.

We have faith, under the continued Chairmanship of Councillor Martin Terry, that the final solution will be more acceptable to the majority of residents in our community.

Update from Peter Lovett

 I do understand that Tony Cox once again confirmed to the meeting that they would not be proceeding with the mud wall, under any circumstances, which he had already given me in writing two months ago, because I sent it to the Echo, so It could be made public. I was very concerned knowing that John Lamb was still in favour of the mud wall, Tony & Derek could change their minds if they were forced to follow the party whip. I feel at this time their is little actual facts we can give.

I have received a sketch from Richard Atkins, showing the trail holes they will be digging in September 2016 in Shoebury Common Road, to check the foundations of the existing sea wall. I am incensed for two reasons:

1 - I was told by Richard Atkins that he had full details of the existing sea wall and he was adamant that it would not take the weight of 450mm of soil being placed next to it, when he added £2m for a beach recharge to our design costs in 2011. Here we are now in 2016, being told they do not know the condition of the existing sea wall, so the consultant is going to dig trial holes. It is these blatant lies & deceit by the Council OFFICERS that has made me angry in the past. These employees are paid by the tax payers & should be supporting residents & councillors in an honest way.

2 - John Lamb was saying that the EA was the leading figure, suggesting that this area could flood at any time and Tony Cox even sent out leaflets at that time scaring elderly residents, showing pictures of houses under 6 feet of water. They all knew at that time that Southend Council was the lead flood engineers for the borough and it was up to the officers to inform the EA. We then found out that Southend Council do not even record flooding events and according to Richard Atkins, they do not have the resources to do so either. If they still believe this area is at risk, why are they not instructing the present consultants to put greater man power into the design actions?

This type of fascicle procedure seems common, but unacceptable.

It has now been announced that Martin Terry has been asked by the Conservatives to continue chairing the meetings so due process is done correctly.

Please see below a letter in reference to the Shoebury Common Proposed Flood Defence that has been sent to Andrew Lewis.

Shoebury Common Proposed Flood Defence Letter

Dear Members
Having read the Council's report on the sea defence wall we, as your Committee of the Burges Estate Resident's Association,  must admit to being confused. The report states that having  considered alternatives they "the council" still recommend the Council's own preferred option.
The association (which has over 1000 household members) which your committee represents sent our written response to the proposal in May 2013, receipt of our alternative proposals was acknowledged  but we now find those proposals have been completely overlooked/ignored.   We are now left asking how can any report recommend the Council' s own view without considering your Residents' Association's proposals.
In our view this makes a mockery of the consultation process and we would question it's validity.  Is there a hidden agenda? Do the Council know something they have not told residents? or are they just arrogant?
The Association's proposals might not be the solution, however we all have the right to be heard   One thing is clear we need some form of flood protection and the Council's preferred option is clearly not wanted by the residents. Therefore the Council should look at all the proposals, consider all the options or maybe take the best ideas from all the options.  We are all after the same result;  it is surely possible, with a bit of lateral thinking, to come up with a mutually agreeable solution. 
Ron Woodley - Chair  "The Burges Estate Residents' Association"

Dear Mr Tinlin
Following last weeks Place Scrutiny meeting I have to register my displeasure at the proceedings that took place. Apart from the fact that my elected representative on the committee was excluded from asking pertinent questions of all options on the sea defence proposals, there was no element of comments being allowed only that of the Leader of the Council, before a vote was taken to seek a working party to be set up to explore not only the options put forward, but the possibility of others.
Clearly 80% of residents are not in favour of the Council preferred option, if the council continues to press ahead without further considerations of elected members then the ramifications of bad publicity will be overwhelming (especially when the leader of the council stated that he will ignore any views of the scrutiny committee).
The following are just a few questions that I am asking as Chair of the Burges Estate Residents Association, which are very different from the questions that I know our elected member of the council was refused/not permitted to ask at the committee.
Please can you respond accordingly in the time frame set out in the Councils Constitution.
1) Under the freedom or information act, what was the verbal & written agreement for storing the earth on the garrison developments land? What happens at the end of the 18 month agreement? Is there any liability the council has entered into with this company?

2) The mud is valued at -£500k, the claimed cost to dump it, however it has a positive value. As such it need to be revalued in line with accounting practice. Also the costs for the option 1 is wrong as it considers the mud to be worth £500k towards the cost, which makes the environmental agency submission wrong. This needs to be disclosed as this could be fraudulent.

 3) What happens when the land opposite the Kursaal is developed,  as it's just a beach recharge. Why is this not available for Shoeburyness?

4) A beach recharge is needed for Shoebury Common, including the garrison, without it the walls & foundations are at risk. Already the Council are moving sand around from the yacht club beach so this can't be questioned. This needs to be acted apon as the Council has a duty of care. This has not been factored into the councils options.

5) The extra cost for a modest sea wall increase in front of Uncle Toms cabin has clearly been overstated. We want a second opinion on the strength of this sea wall as we don't believe it is a bad as claimed. Also the beach recharge will help its stability, which has to be completed anyway even in the Council's plans.

6) The claim of funding being at risk is wrong. Letter from environmental agency states the current proposal has not been accepted but their website shows the money is ear marked. As such different proposals can be considered.

7)  What happens if the garrison developments does not contribute towards the sea wall, how is this going to be funded? Does this imply their planning has been given the go ahead. Does this make their consultation process a mockery?

8) Pushing this through is going to put the Councils credibility at risk. Why are you so intent on this, when other places are at more risk eg Southchurch & City Beach?

9) Don't think the residents are going to take this. A big resistance is building up including TV Crews coming down this week to hear residents concerns that they believe the Council is under the developers influence as no other explanations have been offered up. The Council does not need to  become another ambulance service where mass resignations are the only answer.
Lots more questions to ask, but I don't want to do too many as it will reduce the importance of the key ones above. Please understand nobody is disputing the need to ensure that the Shoebury Common Area is made safe in protecting homes and businesses from the risk of flooding from the sea, it is the method that is in question and the intransigence of the council to consider.
I have copied into this e-mail my membership secretary and web-site coordinator to ensure our 1,000 household  members, which include West Shoebury and Southchurch as well as Thorpe Bay, are made fully aware of this councils failure to accommodate the views of residents living locally in the area concerned.
Ron Woodley
Chair Burges Estate Residents Association