Swanage flood defence blocks reconfigured this week after storm battering

CONCRETE blocks on Swanage seafront have been reconfigured after taking a battering during recent storms.

The defences, installed by the Environment Agency as part of the Swanage Town Coastal Protection Scheme, are put in place between October and April to help protect the town from coastal flooding.

They are put in place while work involving Dorset Council, the Environment Agency and Swanage Town Council to reach a permanent flood protection solution continues.

On November 2, Storm Ciaran took its toll on the Monkey Beach temporary wave barriers, with reports one large wave pushed the barriers, followed by a second, which flipped some of them.

Swanage Town Council and Environment Agency worked in partnership to get the wave barriers back realigned the same day.

However, two of the painted art panels adorning the blocks – created by local artist and Swanage resident, Andy Knill, in conjunction with local organisation Allsort’d – were damaged.

Now, the Environment Agency has decided to reconfigure the layout, turning the barriers 45 degrees to make them more robust in any further storms.

The blocks are all to be turned so they are short end out – like at Stone Quay Slipway location, with worked planned to take place this week (December 20).

Prior to the changes, Swanage Town Council staff removed the art panels for storage, while artist Andy works with Allsort’d and Dorset Coast Forum project officer Sara Parker to redesign this part of the art trail, adding additional panels, which will be reinstalled in January.

“The coastal flood protection project and the art trail project are all about resilience and adapting,” Sara said.

“Despite the damage caused by Storm Ciaran to some of Andy’s panels we regrouped, and we do so again as we appreciate the Environment Agency are ensuring the wave barrier blocks must do their job without risk to the public.

“We look forward to unveiling the new and art work at Monkey Beach in January.”

When reinstalled, she said the location would still offer a “visual feast”, as well as helping them stand out from the pavement for the visually impaired.

As the new configuration of temporary wave barriers will mean they cover more of the pavement surface area, the pavement will be closed next to the blocks and the public asked to use the pavement on the opposite side of the road, the town council said.

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