A major sea defence project for Herne Bay will get underway this autumn following a successful bid by the city council for up to £2.8 million of government funding.
The scheme will see the construction of 24 new timber beach groynes – 13 at the King’s Hall and 11 at Lane End. The existing groynes were built in 1963 and 1972 respectively and are now at the end of their design life, meaning they cannot provide sufficient protection to the seawall.
The work also includes a small section of rock protection between the King’s Hall pumping station and Herne Bay Sailing Club, seawall and promenade repairs, handrail refurbishment and beach recycling.
Council engineering officers spent six months preparing a comprehensive business case before submitting it to the Environment Agency. The money was awarded late last year, since when the council has been seeking a contractor for the work, and the experienced coastal civil engineering firm JT Mackley has now been selected.
The timber for the groynes, Greenheart, will be Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) approved and sourced from Guyana where it is native. Greenheart is one of the strongest commercially available timbers and is ideally suited for marine construction where resistance to marine borers, strength and long life is required.
FSC works to improve forest management worldwide. Forest owners and managers are required to have a forest management plan, maintain and restore the ecosystem and maintain or enhance forest workers’ and local communities’ social and economic well-being.
The timber will be shipped into Whitstable Harbour, where it will be stored and prepared. Subject to planning permission and a Marine Management Organisation licence, work on site in Herne Bay will start in September and run until spring 2019, minimising disruption in the busy summer period.
Chairman of the council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “The bidding process for sea defence funding is very competitive and only the best applications receive cash, so it’s great news for Herne Bay that our officers have been able to secure such a large scheme for the town. Replacing these groynes will help to provide protection from the sea for many years to come.
“Inevitably with an engineering project of this size there will be some disruption, but by working out of the peak season, we’ll ensure this is reduced as much as possible. Residents and businesses close to the two sites will be kept updated before and during the work through a series of newsletters.”