Watchet harbour wall repairs 'could exceed £1m'

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Partial sea defence collapseImage source, Watchet Coastguard Rescue Team
Image caption,
Part of the wall at Watchet partially collapsed before Christmas

The cost of repairing a section of harbour wall which collapsed could exceed £1m, a council has revealed.

Part of the wall at Watchet, Somerset, partially collapsed before Christmas and was subsequently damaged further by Storm Ciara in mid-February.

Somerset West and Taunton Council undertook emergency repairs while commissioning work to improve both the splash point and the East Quay.

The final repair will be built with future sea-level rises in mind.

Chris Hall, the council's localities manager, said a total of £106,000 had been spent on the splash point since the first damage occurred in December.

"Following Storm Ciara in February, the temporary repair was lost and with it the remainder of the 1860s wall.

"The risk of a catastrophic failure of the inner marina wall, and the failure of previous temporary works, meant repair options that fell short of a permanent solution were discounted as they too were likely to fail," Mr Hall said.

Image source, Somerset West and Taunton Council
Image caption,
The harbour walls were damaged in December

Since the February storm damage, design work and repairs totalling £175,000 have been carried out - and a further £825,000 is expected to fund the permanent solution, bringing the total cost to £1,106,000, the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed.

Mr Hall added: "The final repair will include a smooth-faced sea wall to move the power of the tidal impact to a more appropriate location, rather than try and break its power at this vulnerable point.

"It will be built with future sea level rises in mind and the foundations will be capable of taking an increase in height."

A decision on the splash point funding will be taken by the council in the coming weeks.

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