Spotlight on Sunderland’s Coastal Defenses

A decision on approving emergency repairs to coastal defenses and piers is currently being considered by Sunderland City Council’s cabinet.

The council’s meeting, set for Wednesday 25 April, will hear how repairs are needed at the Old North Pier, New South Pier and Stonehill Wall following recent extreme storms.

The repairs are being estimated at costing approximately £3.1 million with costs being met from the council’s capital budget.

A report prepared for the cabinet meeting outlines how ‘significant damage’ was caused to Sunderland’s coastal defenses by the storms.

Les Clark, the City Council’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Severe storms during March had a major impact on several important coastal structures. The cabinet is looking at repairs that should prevent the damage getting worse and therefore reduce the risk of mounting costs in the future.”

The repairs are also about continuing to protect properties behind the beach at Marine Walk, as well as preventing the beach itself being eroded, and maintaining access for ships into the Port of Sunderland.”

Damage was caused on and around Friday, 2nd March, during ‘Storm Emma’ and then with more severe weather and heavy seas between Thursday, 15th, and Sunday, 18th March.

The report to cabinet outlines:

  • Old North Pier

The cost estimate is £1.25 million as a large section of the pier (35 meters/114ft) was lost during the March storms. The 19th century pier helps protect Marine Walk Beach to its north and also helps stop sediment building up in the Port of Sunderland’s navigation channel to its south.

It has been estimated that without the pier it could annually cost up to £100k for port dredging works. Rock revetments and a sheet pile wall are being proposed for the repairs.

  • Stonehill Wall

The cost estimate is £1.5 million as storms severely damaged the 240m/787ft long wall’s concrete deck. The repairs will incorporate a new reinforced concrete deck and splashwall.

  • New South Pier

The cost estimate is £0.35 million as the 850m/2,788ft long pier lost sections of its concrete deck and granite coping. Proposed repairs will see these reclaimed and re-used, and new concrete decking.

All the works are expected to take between eight and 20 weeks to complete and, subject to contractor availability, could all run at the same time.

Subject to the cabinet decision, the council plans to start the works as soon as possible.

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