£5m sea wall moves a step closer to reality

SEA VIEW ... how Littlehaven Beach could look after the creation of the �5m sea defence scheme. Inset,
SEA VIEW ... how Littlehaven Beach could look after the creation of the �5m sea defence scheme. Inset,

THIS is how South Shields’ seafront could look as an ambitious £5m coastal defence plan moves a step closer to reality.

Work is set to start on the transformation of the town’s Littlehaven beach after the appointment of a contractor by South Tyneside Council.

South Shields seafront �5m sea wall artist impression

South Shields seafront �5m sea wall artist impression

Leading construction company Galliford Try has been appointed to head the scheme, which will transform the beach, promenade and sea defences along a 500-metre stretch from the South Groyne to the River Tyne’s South Pier.

And these new images show how the completed scheme might look, with new footpaths, ramps and steps, as well as car parking improvements, soft landscaping and reinstatement of vegetated dune habitats.

The project, which is also supported by the Environment Agency, will replace an outdated sea wall, creating a new promenade as well as improving dune habitats and soft landscaping.

Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and chairman of the Foreshore Steering Group, said: “This project will transform an underused part of our coastline, making it even more attractive for visitors as well as replacing flood defences that are over 100 years old in places.”

The central section of the existing structure will be demolished and replaced, with the remainder being refurbished.

The sea wall will be realigned to an optimum position for coastal defence, about 50 metres landward, opening up a wider area of beach for people to enjoy.

A new stepped wall will lead to a 7.5 metre-wide promenade with lighting so that visitors will be able to enjoy the area into the evening for most of the year.

The existing sea wall no longer provides adequate protection against wave impact, causing regular flooding to the promenade and car park behind.

The new scheme is designed to take account of the latest projections for the impact of climate change in preventing flood and coastal erosion, using materials recycled from the old flood defences as far as possible.

The project is the latest in a series of regeneration initiatives by South Tyneside Council, including a £16m swimming and leisure complex currently under construction nearby.

It follows a recent £2m investment in improvements to the promenade and dunes at Sandhaven Beach, and a major scheme to restore nearby South Marine Park to its original Victorian splendour.

Funded by South Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency, the Littlehaven scheme is expected to be completed late in 2013.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazPaul