Cliffs and the seawall are independent

may I, through your good offices respectfully suggest that Cllr Backhouse stop “mentally linking” the crumbling cliffs behind the Spa complex to the seawall in front of it. The two are almost totally independent of each other.

In some cases, undercutting by the sea may well hasten landslip, but at the Spa the seawall has stopped that. What we are left with is a slightly unstable rather steep cliff, topped off with a road and many, many thousands of tons of flats and hotels (the proverbial hand pressing down on the chocolate cake).

The only thing that will prevent its eventual collapse is to create an artificial slope, one below the optimum for slippage. This is a well-known solution to physicists and geologists and was carried out following the Holbeck landslip.

Whilst it might be necessary to “lose” part of Esplanade Road and pavement, I’m sure that would be preferable to the current council’s response; to hold it back with a massive concrete wall.

Now to the seawall in front of the Spa complex. The computer generated images of what it could soon look like are absolutely horrendous and I am staggered by such a display of intellectual laziness. Thank goodness once again for the Sons of Neptune being “on the ball” and highlighting yet another potential disaster. We, the taxpayers, are regularly billed for “ongoing maintenance” on the seawall. Yet the reasons given recently for such drastic re-thinking on the area included “cracked stone blocks, a loss of the wall’s infil and damaged pointing.” So what’s that if it’s not “ongoing maintenance”?

We should recognise that the Victorians knew exactly what they were doing and if the council have suddenly found several millions of pounds that can only be spent on sea defences, this would be my solution.

Number each block between the Spa steps and beach hut slope before removing them in order to properly reinforce the backfill area below the pavements.

Once that is completed, the original wall should be re-instated, but on a new foundation of 0.6 metre stone blocks. That would improve the Spa’s defence against expected higher tides as well as being almost undetectably different. It would also satisfy current building regulations and last at least another hundred years.

(I’m a bit exhausted now. It took me over 20 minutes to think of that solution and write it all down, and I don’t think a multi-thousand pound grant would have helped much).

Jeff Brook-Smith

Middle Walk