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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

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Cash secured to shore up storm-battered harbour

Cash has been secured to carry out urgent repairs to Whitehaven’s storm-battered harbour – and work will begin on Monday.

Celia Mackenzie photo
Celia Mackenzie

Severe damage was caused in December when violent waves crashed into the harbour, bringing down walls, uplifting paving slabs and destroying buildings.

When the scale of damage became clear, the owners of the harbour revealed they had no cash to carry out much-needed repairs and as a result parts of the harbour would be closed.

Now, thanks to £324,000-worth of funding from the Environment Agency, work will start to repair the harbour’s flood defences, including the Old Quay wall.

Celia Mackenzie, chief executive of The Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, said that work is scheduled to be complete at the end this month or early next .

She added that the commissioners have worked for many years with the Environment Agency in order to protect the town from “inundation” from the sea within the harbour.

“The Environment Agency, having viewed the structural damage, have agreed to provide funds for the restoration of the flood defence scheme,” she said.

“The Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners’ are delighted with the support and the speed at which the Environment Agency have provided the funding and the technical support.”

The money for repairs has been secured from a £130 million emergency funding announcement by the government, to aid the flood relief effort and repair damaged defences.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said that December’s severe storm, coupled with one of the highest spring tides of the year, caused “unprecedented” structural damage to the harbour, and in particular the Old Quay which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

“Repairs to the structure are urgent as additional storms would create further damage to an already weakened structure, compromising the towns flood defence system,” he added.

Copeland Council’s director of services, Pat Graham, said the authority was “pleased” to support the harbour commissioners to secure the money.

“The harbour is a historic monument and an absolutely integral part of our town,” she added. “It actually stood up remarkably well to such destructive storms but it’s great news for our colleagues at the Harbour Commission that it will be repaired and both visitors and locals will be able to enjoy this beautiful area once again.

The cash announcement follows a week of debate where flood-hit areas of the north – including Cumbria – have been critical of the open cheque book given to those places devastated by winter flooding in the south of the country.

Have your say

tj makes a valid point. What happens to the money generated from the massively successful revenue generating Whitehaven / Maritime festivals that is funnelled to the harbour commissioners? What happens to the money generated from the marina? What about the money from the harbourside developments, why is the harbour not insured, after all it is a business made up of multiple asset, many of which were 'donated' by CBC on 'our' behalf. Unfortunately it seems to follow a business model all too familiar within Copeland, that model being to stretch out with the begging bowl and plead poverty, threaten what we have will soon disappear if the begging bowl isn't filled, while those orchestrating the pantomime receive massive salaries with expenses and take responsibility and accountability for nothing.

Posted by ted on 5 March 2014 at 17:55

I agree it is good news that funding has been agreed to complete the repairs.
Now what about if this funbding was not granted, as stated it is a "Historic Monument" and as such should have a dedicated maintenance budget for it, where is this budget, where has all the money gone from festivals etc, how can the pot be empty.
There is more structural damage on the main big pier which also needs repaired and what about some decent south shore defences before the entire grassed area has dissapiered. This needs careful thinking as tides are getting bigger and storms more frequent with greater wind speeds.

Posted by tj on 5 March 2014 at 12:13

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