MIL-OSI United Kingdom: New sea defences nearing completion at Ventnor Eastern Esplanade 1 March 2024 New sea defences nearing completion at Ventnor Eastern Esplanade

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Source: Aisle of Wight

The final king piles have been installed at Ventnor Eastern Cliffs — a big milestone towards completing the new sea defences which will protect homes and businesses for years to come.

It was in November 2022 that the Isle of Wight Council closed part of Eastern Esplanade after a large hole and cracks appeared in the revetment beyond the skatepark.

Within days part of the seawall had collapsed into the sea as winter storms battered the weakened defences which date back to the 1960s.

Further investigations revealed extensive damage below the apron the revetment, including badly corroded steel sheet piles.

In May 2023 work began to install more than 150 king piles and 146 timber panels in front of the existing seawall to create new defences which certainly proved their worth when Storms Babet and then Ciaran hit the Island in October and November.

However, undertaking the urgent works over one of the wettest years on record has been incredibly challenging. Relentless storms with waves coming onto the promenade have hampered progress despite the best efforts of the council’s contractor.

Progress has also not been helped by the exposed nature of the site and the discovery of further voiding towards the eastern end of the site which has required specialist stabilisation works. Unfortunately, these factors have led to an unavoidable delay in the reinstatement of the promenade.

It is now anticipated that the site compound will be removed, the car park reinstated and the promenade reopened to the public from 14 May 2024.

Natasha Dix, the council’s service director for environment and planning, said: “We’ve made great progress installing new sea defences, however delays caused by the extreme weather and discovery of further voiding mean we won’t be able to open the promenade in time for the Easter holidays.

“We know how important this popular walking and cycling route is to the town, particularly local businesses, and our contractors have worked double tides at every opportunity to help finish the work as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the weather dictates progress and it has not been kind to us. 

“We understand the delays will be disappointing and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience. The new sea defences are now in place and doing their job to protect homes and businesses along this section of coastline. We now look forward to reopening the revetment in May.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom