West Kirby flood wall plan set to go to Environment Agency

Site of new sea defence wall
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Wirral council is shortly to submit its business case for a new wall to protect West Kirby from flooding to the Environment Agency for approval.

The council is planning to erect a 1.2 metre high wall, which will run for 1.1 kilometres along South Parade, on the line of the current lamp posts and benches.

The wall is intended to protect £50m worth of West Kirby homes and businesses from tidal surges and rising sea levels for the next 100 years.

In an update note to residents today, Helen Gallagher, the council’s constituency engagement officer for Wirral West, said the business case included the feedback received by local people about the plan.

Artist's impression of potential flood defence for West Kirby
Artist’s impression of potential flood defence for West Kirby

“Following approval by the Environment Agency, the next stage will be a full planning application for the project,” she said.

Natural England and the Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service have already been consulted over the project, and Wirral’s planning department has given the business case an initial favourable ‘screening’ based on their findings.

This means that the planning application will not require a full environmental impact assessment, though a Habitat Regulations Assessment will be carried out to make sure coastline and wildlife considerations are fully addressed.

Said Helen: “What this all means is that work on developing the brief for the design, procurement and supervision of the scheme should start soon depending on the length for time taken for the Environment Agency’s approval processes.

The wall will follow the line of the street lights and seats
The wall will follow the line of the street lights and seats

“Developing the brief will include making sure that we continue to engage with residents and stakeholder groups to get input and views prior to submission of proposals for full planning consent and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to contribute so far.”

She added that the team working on the flood alleviation project was working closely with the architects working on improvements to West Kirby Sailing Centre, to link up the plans where possible and make efficiency savings.

“Finally, as the work to secure the project progresses, we would be interested to know if you have any ideas for how we could celebrate the fantastic coastline and views at West Kirby and enhance the promenade alongside the proposed flood defence structure,” said Helen.

“The constituency team would like to work with local residents and community groups to see if funding can be secured from grant bodies for additional improvements.

“If you are interested in discussing this with us further, please do get in touch. One idea for example might be interpretative panels at key points along the promenade designed by the local community.”

Helen can be contacted by emailing her at helengallagher@wirral.gov.uk

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