Significant milestone in proposals for new £6m flood wall

Detailed plans for the new flood wall to be built along the length of West Kirby promenade will be officially lodged next week.

This marks a significant milestone in this highly-complex, but essential, project to build a 1.1km barrier on South Parade, between its junctions with Sandy Lane and Riversdale Road.

The proposals have undergone significant scrutiny over the past 18 months and, since inception, have been the subject of a number of public consultations, with residents voicing their opinion on everything from whether there is a need for increased flood defences, the design of any barrier, the materials to be used and how details such as seating, memorial plaques could be incorporated into the finished structure.

In revising the design ahead of the planning submission to the committee, many of those comments and suggestions have been taken on board and incorporated into the scheme.

These revisions include:

  • The wall being redesigned into a long curving seat – akin to a wave – along the whole of South Parade
  • The promenade to be finished in a sandy-buff colour, with those colours also extended across onto the footpath on the landward side of South Parade
  • Public realm features such as gateways across the highway and onto the promenade at all of the pedestrian access points, highlighted with icons linking to the local environment
  • A clearly marked cycle lane
  • Timber-slat seating on the bench on the straight parts of the curve
  • A circular trail around the promenade and lake, with distance markers counting up and down every 100m
  • The original railings are being refurbished and the original shelters renovated and relocated to keep the Victorian heritage

The flood alleviation scheme aims to protect the area from flooding well into the next century.

It is, in part, being financed by a £2.2m flood defence grant, supported by capital funding from Wirral Council and an Environment Agency Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. There is also a Local Levy contribution of £1m. In total, the scheme will cost in the region of £6m.

Cllr Liz Grey, chair of the environment, climate emergency and transport committee, said: “This is a key moment in the timelines of this project and, arguably, the final remaining obstacle to overcome before work can start.

“It is both exciting and important that those responsible for the delivery of this scheme have been able to incorporate so many of the interesting and innovative suggestions that people have made during the consultations. It is essential that we have carried residents along with us in a supportive way.”

She added: “Our location as a peninsula inevitably means we are at more risk of flooding from the sea than many other areas and our responsibility to protect residents, businesses and the local environment from that risk in the long term is one we take very seriously.

“We are delighted to have reached this point of the scheme, supported by local people, which moves us closer to putting the protection in place that is needed here.”

Peter Costello, area flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This is a major step for both the project and in our commitment to better protect homes and businesses in West Kirby from flood risk and coastal erosion.

“Climate change and rising sea levels is affecting the way we manage our coasts and estuaries and we must adapt to that change.

“The Environment Agency is committed to ensuring today’s growth and infrastructure is resilient to tomorrow’s climate by making sure the right investment and planning decisions are made now to secure sustainable environmental improvements – helping us build back better and greener. West Kirby Flood Alleviation Scheme is a good example of how we can do that.”

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