Blackpool’s £61m plan to protect 4,000 properties from flooding

The cash from the Environment Agency will be used to upgrade existing coastal defences

More than £61m is to be invested in repairing sea defences in Blackpool to help protect around 4,000 properties from the threat of flooding.

The cash from the Environment Agency will be used to upgrade existing coastal defences in Bispham, along a 1.5km stretch between Princes Way at Little Bispham and Red Bank Road, and 1.3 km from Gynn Square to Cocker Square. Coun Jane Hugo, cabinet member for climate change at the council, said: “Many coastal communities are experiencing the devastating effects of coastal erosion and it is critical we act now to protect the coastline of Blackpool.”

Work is due to start early next year. Although the the existing defences, which were built in the 1980s, have been regularly maintained, the council says they are now “life expired”. Replacing them before any erosion of the steep cliffs takes place will avoid the need for expensive emergency works.

Coun Hugo added: “Once complete more than 4,000 properties will have protection against future rising of the sea level. The funding will allow us to refurbish the defences and will give us an opportunity to improve access for users of the beach.”

Around £150m has been invested in Blackpool over the past 30 years in improving sea defences, including at South Shore and most recently a 1km stretch at Princes Way in Anchorsholme which opened in 2017 and cost £27m. This latest scheme, costing £61.2m in total, will protect 3,631 households, 380 non-residential properties, as well as infrastructure including the tramway.

Detailed designs will now be drawn up to refurbish existing defences between Princes Way and Red Bank Road including overlaying the sloped revetments with reinforced concrete slabs. Honeycombe revetments, similar to those used in South Shore, will be used between Gynn Square and Cocker Square.

Both schemes will also see improvements to access steps and slipways, replacement of the crest wall and the introduction of new fishtail rock headlands and groynes which disperse waves to prevent erosion.

Andrew Shore, area coastal engineer for the Environment Agency said: “We are delighted to be working with Blackpool Council on another significant investment on the Fylde coast to help better protect communities, businesses and infrastructure from the future impacts of climate change.”