Major Sunderland sea defences project approved after Storm Emma battering

A major scheme to boost coastal defences near the Port of Sunderland have been given the green light by planning chiefs.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 12:11 pm

In March 2018, Storm Emma and subsequent weather events severely damaged Sunderland’s coastline at Old North Pier, New South Pier and Stonehill Wall.

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An image showing some of the damage done in 2018

The programme includes a reinforced concrete deck area, copings and splash wall to replace the existing storm-damaged deck area, extension works, a new ramp to allow access to the foreshore and other changes.

In action, the scheme will future-proof Stonehill Wall and protect development on the east shore, including the new enterprise zone development and the Port of Sunderland.

A planning application for Stonehill Wall was submitted in April and validated by council planners in May.

Following feedback from the council’s environmental health experts, ecologist and Natural England, Sunderland City Council’s planning authority approved the plans on Thursday, August 20.

An image showing some of the damage done in 2018

A decision report reads: “It is considered that the proposed development is acceptable in land use terms given that the development is concerned with the repair, maintenance and improvement of the coastal flooding infrastructure designed to protect the Port of Sunderland.

“In addition, and subject to the imposition of the conditions recommended by the council’s ecologist, it is considered that the proposals will not have a significant effect on the European Protected sites and species which are proximate to the application site or the adjacent land which is functionally linked to these sites.

“Furthermore, the proposals raise no concerns relative to the amenity of the area, built heritage, archaeology and highway and pedestrian safety.

“The development is also compatible with a location which is at high risk of flooding given that the works affect flood defences.”

Stonehill Wall was constructed in circa 1900 as part of the development of the New South Pier and extends for approximately 240 metres with an average height of 4.6 metres.

Subject to final checks, the maintenance scheme on the council-owned structure is expected to start this year and would take around 26 weeks.

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