New images reveal what controversial sea wall in West Kirby looks like
People are getting their first look at the new 1.1km flood defence wall, which has seen opposition from many in the town.
New images have shown what a controversial sea wall in West Kirby will look like as it nears completion.
The West Kirby Flood Alleviation Scheme is a 1.1km barrier along South Parade which runs next to the town’s marine lake. The intention of the scheme is to save lives and protect the area from flooding well into the next century.
It has been controversial since it was first proposed with residents by Wirral Council and ward members have opposed the plans and the projected cost of the scheme now being more than £10m. Construction is expected to finish by this Spring.
The scheme has been carried out by the local authority, the Environment Agency and other partners with most of the funding for the scheme coming from central government.
Businesses in West Kirby have reported taking a hit on footfall during construction, due to a lack of parking along the sea front, with fears a dozen could go under as a result.
Since then Wirral Council has been trying to encourage people to visit the town with a Shop Local message and free parking offers until the end of January.
Currently the construction of the sea wall itself has been carried out along most of South Parade up until Old Baths site. Resurfacing of the new promenade is to follow.
The wall will stand at 1.2m high and new features on the gateway and access points are being introduced as well as a compass at the Old Baths.
Gaps in the wall including entrances to the Watersports Centre and Sandy Lane would be closed during storm surges or risk of flooding. This would be through a combination of hinged and sliding gates as well as temporary barriers.
Environment committee chair Cllr Liz Grey told a Wirral Council meeting in December the project was nearing completion and “actually turning out to be a rather beautiful piece of public realm infrastructure and the residents I’ve spoken to are very pleased with what’s there.”
“They are actually quite relieved because there was actually quite a strong misinformation campaign regarding how monstrous this unnecessary flood was going to be and they’re actually very surprised to see it’s in keeping with the environment around it. Cllr Grey added: It’s going to protect lives, property and businesses and is already proving to be an attraction itself.”
The remarks drew criticism from Conservative councillors with Mayor Jeff Green adding: “As a West Kirby councillor, it certainly divides opinion and again, it still divides opinion but it’s interesting to see how it’s developed.”