November 25, 2011

NW Evening Mail: “MP in fight to save homes from the sea”

AN MP is demanding government ministers step into the battle to stop homes being washed into the sea.

Residents of West Shore Park on Walney have been increasingly concerned over recent years that coastal erosion at Earnse Bay will lead to their homes being flooded.

But now Barrow MP John Woodcock hopes to lead a delegation to meet the environment minister in Whitehall in a bid to resolve the issue once and for all.

In a letter to Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs minister Richard Benyon, Mr Woodcock wrote: “I am requesting a meeting to discuss ways to tackle the level and speed of coastal erosion that is taking place at Earnse Bay, Walney Island, within my constituency.

“The issue is one of very considerable concern to residents and local councillors, most especially those who live at the West Shore Park site in immediate proximity to where the sea is eroding the foreshore.

“West Shore Park has approximately 400 chalet-style homes whose residents, each passing winter, live in increasing fear of the encroaching sea.

“As the authority responsible for coastal protection, Barrow Borough Council has made a number of applications to the Environment Agency seeking support for measures to protect the coast at Earnse Bay, but as yet with no success. They hope, however, that revised arrangements for distribution of supporting grants might provide an opportunity for this to be reconsidered.”

In March, last year, a report by the Environment Agency claimed that more than 100 metres of the island’s coastline had been lost in 30 years.

But this estimate was disputed by local experts.

Mr Woodcock said the crumbling coastline was a menace to the people living on the residential park and he urged the minister to set up a meeting as soon as possible.

If and when the minister fixes a date to meet the delegation, it is envisaged that Mr Woodcock will be accompanied by residents, representatives of Barrow Borough Council and a senior officer from the town hall.

Mr Woodcock said: “Coastal erosion is a problem in several parts of Furness but it is particularly acute at Earnse Bay.

“In recent years temporary sea defences in the form of large rocks have been put in place, but on big tides the sea comes over them.

“It is time the residents of West Shore Park had their minds put at ease and I hope our meeting with the minister can find a solution.”

Tony Callister, who represents Walney North on Barrow Borough Council, said: “I would like to echo John’s words, but also I am very concerned with the continuous adverse weather that we experience along our coastline.

“And after several months cross-negotiating with Barrow Borough Council and the owners of the park, Embra, we can come to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.”

Story in the North West Evening Mail

Filed under: Cumbria,Press Article — Tags: , , , — jaydublu @ 6:57 pm

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