Porthcawl’s tarmac beach to be replaced after 31 years – Glamorgan Gem

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

By Philip Irwin

in Environment

Porthcawl’s tarmac beach will be a thing of the past after the Welsh Government confirmed that funding has been allocated for its replacement.

It is acknowledged that the beach, despite attracting plenty of negative comment about its appearance, has done its job in protecting the Porthcawl promenade from stormy seas.

It was two years ago that a consultation exercise in the town said that a concrete, tiered structure would do as good a job, and those who took part in the consultation selected it as the preferred option.

Late last year, cash was made available for the design stage of the project, and now, with the confirmation of funds, the only hurdle remaining is for Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) to put the plans before its own planning department.

As long as BCBC councillors pass the BCBC proposals, the work will go ahead, although the time scale is still not confirmed.

Coun Hywel Williams, BCBC’s cabinet member for communities, said: “We welcome this allocation of funding which will enable us to replace Porthcawl’s ‘concrete beach’ with all-new sea defences that will be capable of standing up to the elements for the next 100 years.

“Last month we received approval for our proposal to progress to the detailed design and development stage, and we are delighted that the construction funding has now been confirmed.

“The current sea defence was put in place in 1984 to prevent erosion and reduce the chance of waves breaking over the top of the promenade.

The asphalt has done a good job over the last 30 years, but as it needs increasing maintenance to continue to function effectively, we are pleased to have the opportunity to introduce a fresh new sea defence.

“The new design will feature a terraced revetment in a similar style to the sea defences found in other coastal towns across the UK including Margate.

The design was chosen following public consultation in 2013, and will be hardy enough to stand up to the tough maritime conditions.

“Work will now continue on completing the design and development stage before a full planning application can be submitted and construction work can begin.”

Coun Sean Aspey represents Porthcawl on BCBC, and is delighted with the news. He told The GEM that he had taken a particular interest in the beach, and contacted the Welsh Government about its condition in 2012.

He said:?“It was obvious that the original bitumen-based material was being broken up – it had been there for more than 25 years.

“Also, there was concern that no sea life was to be found around the beach. There were no crabs in the rock pools and no seaweed growing anywhere.”

It was in 2013 that the consultations began on a replacement, and Coun Aspey is happy with the new structure.

He said:?“I have been told that the new structure will be made elsewhere and then brought in when the weather is suitable. That should cut down on delays caused by bad weather.

“My understanding is that some of the existing bitumen will be enclosed by the new structure, while any that is outside the new structure will be removed.”

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