Site: 3 Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley
The 4th public workshop will be held during April 2014 in the Empire Rooms at Royal Victoria Country Park. Please look out for further details. If you would like to attend please contact Phil Halliwell at Philip.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The coastal frontage at Royal Victoria Country Park is protected by a sea wall, over recent years a number of weaknesses have been identified including voids behind the wall, bulges in the sheet piling and corrosion of the wall. This has meant that the footway along the top of the wall has been shut since 2006 due to safety concerns. Although the County Council has and continues to undertake maintenance work it’s thought that the sea wall has reached the end of its design life and ongoing maintenance will not be sustainable.
Hampshire County Council (as the landowner) need to determine the best medium and long term solution for the Country Park frontage and main entrance. There are a number of issues that need to be considered including the following:
- Replacing the seawall would be extremely expensive and may not be in the public interest and may impact on wildlife.
- If the seawall were removed and the shoreline returned to a natural coastline there would be implications for the main vehicular access to the park and the private residences, and risk of pollution from the main sewer which runs behind the seawall.
- The entrance to the park occasionally floods and there may be an increase in future flooding of the main vehicular access point to the Country Park in the future as sea levels rise and storm surges increase.
As the landowner of Royal Victoria Country Park Hampshire County Council need to determine how to manage the section of coastline in front of the Country Park to ensure that a long term access route to the Country Park and associated residences is maintained. The CCATCH project has engaged with the local community in order to:
- Raise awareness of the coastal defence issues and the limitations of funding.
- Produce a short term flood risk plan for the Country Park.
- Produce an action plan to aid Hampshire County Council’s long term planning for the Country Park.
The work has focused on access issues within the Park that would result from a loss in coastal defences. Key questions that will be addressed in the process are:
- How is the coastline at Royal Victoria Country Park changing?
- How will this affect the park, residents, business and visitors?
- What can be done to minimise the potential detrimental effects e.g. options for the seawall and alternative access?
- What do the community want from the park in the future?
The project will not be able to fund any coastal defence scheme for the park or the Netley frontage.
The project will help the community understand the coastal defence and cost issues affecting the Country Park and give the community an opportunity to influence short, medium and long term planning for coastal defence of and access to the park.
The following issues have been identified:
- Continuing erosion of the seawall and flooding of the main vehicular access point.
- Public concerns regarding the on-going closure of the seawall footpath.
- Possible loss of the road within the Park due to failure of the seawall could impact on access and use of the Country Park and other residences and business, and on the main sewer.
- Various constraints to consider e.g. costs of any works, how to divert vehicular access, environmental sensitivity and designations, impacts on wildlife, consents and permissions.
- What happens in an emergency (i.e. where is the alternative access to the Country Park when the current access point floods, possible pollution, and safety of foreshore area).
What has happened so far?
A Local Engagement Group, which includes around 10 local community representatives, has met to help the project team determine how best to engage the wider community in the project and has helped develop a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, a leaflet, exhibition material and the workshop process.
A number of workshops were held with community members to consider the issues. During the workshops participants were asked to consider how the area has changed over time and will continue to do so in the future by discussing their memories of the Park; how they value the Park currently, and what they would like to see in the future.
A further workshop will be held in April 2014 to discuss the findings of a report currently under production to cost out the options.
Workshop reports can be found here:
- Workshop 1 report RVCP_Workshop1Report_Final
- Workshop 2 report RVCP_Workshop2Sep_Report_Final
- Workshop 3 report RVCP_Workshop24Oct_Final
The community proposed the following vision:
'The coastal frontage at the Royal Victoria Country Park needs to be accessible for all with the flood and erosion risks managed. An environmentally acceptable and cost-effective engineering solution will be found for the road and the park entrance. The scheme will be part of an integrated vision of which the community in and around the park can be proud, with iconic views across Southampton Water and enjoyment of recreational activities.'
It should be noted that there is no consensus on what the community believes should be the response to the end of the sea wall's design life.
The Draft Adaptation plan considers 4 possible solutions or options for the coastal frontage:
- Replacement of all or part of the sea wall
- Continuing to maintain the current sea wall
- Beach replenishment
- Removal of the seawall and return to a natural coastline
For each of these the various constraints are considered such as costs and other resource implications, technical feasibility and other practical considerations, environmental impact/opportunity, permissions, timescale and what other information is required. The best option seems to be a step change approach with short, medium and long-term solutions being adopted. The community were open to taking a combination approach to the options as steps to a longer-term adaptation plan. This plan links closely to the Royal Victoria Country Park’s emergency plan so that it is clear to all what steps would be taken in the event of a catastrophic collapse of the wall caused by extreme weather or structural failure.
The draft plan can be viewed - RVCP Adaptation Plan Draft Jan 2014.
- The results of the work will be taken forward by Hampshire County Council in determining the future of the seawall.
- The challenge is that there remains little consensus over a solution and any solution has numerous constraints.
How to get involved
If you are interested in attending any future workshops please e-mail your details to Philip.email@example.com.