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Report on Barton on Sea Council Meeting: Sea Defences

Hello Residents of Barton, I am writing to inform you about the decisions made as regarding the sea defences. The Council has listened to everybodys viewpoints and taken them into account. The local farmers, the local hoteliers and the local businesses. All of you have brought your ideas and opinions to our attention, but ultimately there can only be one decision. On December 12th 2012, the local council and members of the local community met in the town hall to discuss the matter. It was a great battle. Local businesses got up and said their piece about what they thought should happen in the management of Barton. There were many arguments for hard engineering, and that was the way things were going until the farmers got up and did their piece, it was a very hard choice to make. But here in this report you will find out what the local residents had to say both for AND against sea defences. Good evening everybody. I am a local farmer, you may have heard of me, my name if Farmer Giles. I am here to talk to you about why we should have sea defences. Some of my farm is on the edge of the rapidly eroding cliff, if it falls into the sea, I dont k know what I would do, it would be a catastrophe. I supply fruit and vegetables to the local Sainsburys, if my farm were to fall into the sea, there would be a drastic drop in stock of fruit and veg at your local supermarkets. This was just one of the many things Farmer Giles had to say about why we should opt for the hard engineering approach. He felt that if we decided to build a sea wall, it would be better because it would protect us from coastal erosion and flooding. He also feels that for some extra stability, we should have rock groynes constructed for extra stability. Farmer Giles went on to explain why he thought this, If one defence should fail us, we always have another to help the coast from eroding. After Farmer Giles, Dr. I Jones head of Geology and English Nature got up to say his piece about why we shouldnt have sea defences put in place. Barton on Sea is an amazing place, if we start destroying it with big machinery, petrol burning machines and all sorts of other pollution, the tourists will no longer come to Barton. Also, Barton is a site of Special Scientific Interest which means that the animals, habitats and fossils could lead to ground breaking Scientific discoveries. In short, Dr. Jones felt that we shouldnt build any sea defences because it would be destroying the local area with pollution. As well

as pollution, Dr. Jones mentioned also that he thought if there were big machines everywhere along the sea front, he feels that it would be an eye sore and that it would repel tourists at the time when they were needed the most. If there were sea defences to be built, Dr. Jones was very clear on what he thought would be the most beneficial to the area. He said that groynes would deprive the areas further along the coast of sand and shingle, such as Hurst Castle Spit for example, it is very likely that it would soon fall into the sea if we were to build groynes. A rare breed of geese live on the salt marshes behind the Spit, if there was to be any damage what so ever to the marshes, it is likely that the geese would leave, we have been told that the probability of them finding new grounds to breed in are slim. In the 1960s, Barton On Sea was being managed and had what seemed like a well-structured Coastal defence plan. Over the period of 15 years, these defences were destroyed by weathering and coastal erosion. The very important point was pointed out to us that whatever sea defences we chose, they had to be weather resistant. 2 hotel owners attended the meeting and both of them had similar views. We had an international hotelier who thought that our best chance of protecting the Coast was with a sea wall. Mary White, a more local hotel owner was for a sea wall also because very soon, her insurance was going to run out and she had searched everywhere, but she couldnt find any anywhere because of the rapid rate of erosion. Its the same for residents as well. Many people moved to Barton years ago, to houses at the beginning of the cliff, but now they find they are missing chunks of their garden because of the rate of erosion! Local residents suggested that the cliff should have some artificial drainage in order to decrease the rate of cliff slumping. Vegetation was another subject that kept cropping up amongst local residents; they all felt that it would improve the quality of the sea wall to look at, if we were to get one. Local surfer and teacher Sam Lamaroy was against sea defences. You cannot change the way Mother Nature behaves. If you were to go against it, bad things would happen here. There would be no more waves; many surfers would become un employed! This went on for a considerable amount of time, before the council ended the meeting. On December 15th 2012, the council met in the Town Hall to discuss the fate of Barton taking into account everybodys opinions and needs. Once again, the council was divided and began the debate.

As a specialist in Coastal Sea defences, my personal opinion is that Barton On Sea should have some sort of Coastal sea defence in place, immediately. The current rate of erosion is 1 metre per year, this is too much in a short time, soon Barton will be gone if nothing is done now! I think that Barton should opt for the sea wall option. I think this because it is the option that is going to protect Barton against erosion the best. Although this has the potential to be a huge success, it could also be a devastating tragedy. The sea wall would only ever work if the council can maintain it, that takes a lot of money! As soon as a fault appears, it must be fixed straight away or hydraulic action will set in and cause it to get bigger and bigger until your sea wall falls into dis repair and just falls into the sea! Also it would have to be made attractive with vegetation, childrens play areas and other small tourist attractions. The sea walls in Blackpool and Cleveleys in Lancashire are perfect examples!

Blackpools new Sea Wall

Blackpools old Sea Wall

Cleveleys new Sea Wall

Cleveleys childrens water features

If the council were going to have a sea wall built, they would have to make it more than a sea wall, more a 3 generational promenade. A park for the young people, benches, toilets and a caf or some sort of shelter for the adults and elderly, they have to design this wall around the needs and requirements of the residents of Barton and holiday makers. As usual in any Coastal resort, the main land use is for homes. However, a large proportion of the land is used for hotels, businesses, shops and restaurants. I think that they should build some rock groynes just past Hurst Castle Spit to make sure that nothing will happen to the Spit in the foreseeable future. Also this would help widen the beach at Barton which would be beneficial because it would allow more tourists to use the beach in the summer months. At the end of the Councils meeting they had made their decision about how best to manage the small Coastal town of Barton.

The Councils decisions are below: To construct artificial sand dunes along the beach To fit drainage in the cliff To construct some rock groynes after Hurst Castle Spit Some rock armour at both ends of the beach Some gabions at the bottom of the cliff Beach Replenishment

The council assure me that all these decisions are made for the benefits of the local people as well as the local economy. While they may not seem like the answer in the short term, they will greatly benefit Barton On Sea in the long term. Said local councillor, Edward Milligan. The Council are currently having custom gabions being constructed in Norway to fit the needs of Barton. They are being made with much smaller holes in the mesh because of the unique wildlife in and around the area of Barton. This is also because the council are trying to make these gabions look like less of an eye sore; they are hoping that because of the smaller holes there will be less litter being caught in them. Also, a fine of 50 has been introduced as to encourage people to keep the town tidy for tourists. Local residents are hoping that the drainage in the cliff is going to help reduce the rate at which the cliff is slumping by taking a lot of the excess water away that would otherwise be sat on top of the cliff, soaking through. Nature enthusiasts in the town are not too keen on groynes being constructed near the Spit as they are not 100% sure what the result will be. The council are hoping that this will keep the Spit alive as well as improving the local beach. Beach replenishment was not originally going to be part of the coastal protection scheme but it was decided upon after the decision was made to construct artificial sand dunes. This is the biggest of all the sea defences going to be constructed at Barton on Sea. The artificial sand dunes are designed to boost the number of tourists that flock to Barton, and the council are predicting that this will improve the numbers of tourists all the way along the Jurassic Coast.