The Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme was opened in June 2018. It’s function is to prevent flooding, but it’s also an amazing public facility for Fleetwood.
New Finishing Touch Artwork at the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme
New artworks are being installed at Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme, in the grasslands between West Way and Chatsworth Avenue.
Larkholme Grasslands is classed as a Biological Heritage Site because of the rare species of flora and fauna that grow there.
The 1.5km strip of land parallel to the seawall has been enhanced as part of the scheme, to allow you to enjoy the rich and diverse wildlife in this specialised environment.
It will feature specially created sculptures, designed by artist Stephen Broadbent. They bring to life the diverse range of marine species that give the area its Biological Heritage Site status.
Beacons and artworks
Colourful stainless steel grassland beacons and hand carved wooden artworks will stand tall at pedestrian access points along the promenade.
The tall artworks are way-finders, connecting paths to the promenade and marking pedestrian access points. They also link the Rossall section to the Mythic Coast, an artwork trail based on the folklore and myth surrounding our local coastline.
Visitors to the Mythic Coast can follow an artwork and poetry trail from Cleveleys seafront, based on the popular children’s book The Sea Swallow. The story continues to Rossall Point Observation Tower.
Councillor Roger Berry, Neighbourhood Services and Community Safety Portfolio Holder at Wyre Council said: “Installing these new pieces of artwork is a fitting way to complete the coastal defence scheme at Rossall. As well as protecting thousands of homes and businesses from flooding, we now have a visually stunning promenade for residents and visitors. Enjoy and the work of Stephen Broadbent that brings our wonderful coastline to life.”
The Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme
2km of sea defences (just over a mile) have been replaced between Westway and Fleetwood Golf Course. The scheme has taken four years to construct, at a cost of £63m. It will protect 7,500 properties from the risk of flooding.
Opening of the Scheme
Sir James Bevan, the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency and Dean Banks, Balfour Beatty Chief Executive Officer for UK Construction Services were at the opening. They were joined by Councillor Roger Berry Neighbourhood Services and Community Safety Portfolio Holder at Wyre Council and Cat Smith MP. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the event.
Take a look at the photos from the opening day –
New Sea Defences to Protect Fleetwood
This aerial video clip was taken in November 2016. In it you can see how the wall is being replaced from the southern end of the scheme at Westway, through to the northern end of the scheme adjacent to Fleetwood Golf Course.
You can also see how much more significantly bigger the new sea defences are. The old sea wall is still visible at the northern golf course end, seen towards the end of the clip.
Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme Nears Completion
The photo below shows just how effectively the new coastal defence scheme controlled Storm Eleanor on 3 Jan 2018.
The next photo is taken looking along the top of the intermediate recurve wall. The recurve wall is about 4′ high.
At the southern end of the scheme where the new wall meets the old wall in front of Rossall School, it was business as usual.
In the foreground you can see the relative lack of wave activity against the new wall. From the centre of the photo you can see enormous waves battering the old wall and overtopping it. This photo beautifully demonstrates just how effective the new wall is.
There’s now an ecology park on the landward side of the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme, between West Way and Fairway.
The 1.5km strip of land is now known as Larkholme Grasslands. It was already classed as a Biological Heritage Site before the seawall works, because of the rare species of flora and fauna which grow there.
Following construction of the seawall, the grasslands were re-landscaped. The old concrete overflow channel (below) is now a ‘meandering swale’ with natural ponds along the way. After major earthworks the level of the ground was raised. This not only makes a more attractive landscape, it’s also reduced the visible height of the old grey seawall from the road. The new rear wall is as high as the old one (actually it’s about 30cm higher) but now that less of it is visible it looks much more attractive.
Restoring the native plantlife
After the earthworks, turfing, seeding and planting followed. Rarer plants were translocated away from the site when construction of the sea defences began to prevent damage. A number of seed collections were taken before the works began to restore the same plantlife to site afterwards. These seeds were grown offsite on mats and returned once the landscaping was complete. Where possible, native turf was stripped and moved from one place to another, to maintain the original flora of the site.
This landscaping work is the finishing touch to the fantastic new promenade and is a much more attractive environment for those living behind the sea defences. The ecology park makes the most of the area’s natural features, while meeting the feedback from prior consultation with the public. It celebrates the plants and insects that make the grasslands special. Seating, pathways and bridges make the whole area more accessible and enjoyable.
How the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme was Built
Visit Fleetwood documented the construction of the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme. Take a look through these sequential updates to see the transformation to an amazing piece of public realm from an old seawall which was at the end of its useful life.
First Fully Complete Section of Sea Defences
Published December 2017
The first whole section of new sea defences, from promenade to beach, has been completed at Rossall as work to replace two kilometres of defences enters the final stages.
This first complete section is a significant milestone where you can see the full breadth of the scheme for the first time. Work began building the new defences back in April 2014 and work centred predominantly on importing rock armour and constructing the lower revetment out of view.
Now the promenade is taking shape much more of the defences are visible from the highway and we have started landscaping the ecology park on the landward side. Once complete, residents will have substantially improved protection against flooding and a fantastic public open space.
The completed section contains lower rock revetment, concrete summer promenade, stepped revetment, wave wall, lower promenade, intermediate walls, upper promenade and rear flood wall.
270,000 tonnes of rock armour are being used to create the base of the defences, to weather the harsh conditions on this exposed part of the coastline and allow the beach to build up in the area.
Between the rock revetment and the promenade, specially manufactured precast concrete is being used to form a stepped revetment to break the waves. Each unit, of which there are over 1000 in total, is the weight of around two double decker buses and is placed in position by a vacuum lifter from a crane.
The promenade, which has been significantly widened, will also be concrete and similar in design to Cleveleys.
New seawall at Rossall tells the story of The Sea Swallow
Published December 2016
Concrete units depicting artwork and poetry from the children’s book, which brings to life the folklore and myth surrounding the local coastline, are being installed at the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme between West Way and Rossall Point.
The story of the Sea Swallow is told at the northern end of the site, where the new seawall meets the existing wall. The artwork faces the sea and will be visible to anyone enjoying the new promenade when it re-opens.
The Mythic Coast is an artwork trail beginning at Cleveleys, with a memorial to all the ships wrecked off the Fylde coast between 1643 and 2008. Characters from The Sea Swallow, including a giant stainless steel seashell and sea ogre carved from limestone, are dotted northwards along the promenade and beach before the trail ends at Rossall Point Observation Tower.
The seawall at the southern end of the site at Westway will also replicate features from The Sea Swallow in the same way, as work progresses in the coming months.
Aerial photo of Rossall Sea Defences, January 2017
Aerial photo of Rossall Sea Defences, January 2017
Update October 2016
Wave wall ‘book ends’ being installed either side of a flight of beach access steps.
Lower precast landing units being installed at the bottom of a flight of beach access steps.
Installation of precast concrete continues, which makes up the bulk of the visible defences, on the beach access steps, stepped revetment, wave walls, rear flood walls and since the last update, the northern tie-in rear flood walls and intermediate walls.
The northern tie-in walls are different to the standard rear walls as they have to allow for the new higher promenades to ramp down to meet the existing promenade.
Northern most tie-in precast rear walls being installed.
The intermediate wall comprises two small stepped precast blocks placed between the lower and upper promenade.
Intermediate precast wall units being installed between what will be the lower and upper promenades.
Work to date includes:
– 245,000 tonnes of rock armour imported
– 1740 metres of steel sheet piling installed (97% complete)
– 1400 metres of rock revetment and 13 rock groynes installed using 165,000 tonnes of rock armour and 90,000 tonnes of smaller underlayer rock (80% complete)
– 10 sets of beach access steps installed through revetment (66% complete)
– concrete foundations to an additional set of beach access steps placed
– concrete placed to form 17 groyne crossover ramps (94% complete)
– 74% of precast concrete revetment units installed
– 74% of precast concrete wave wall and rear flood walls installed
– commenced structural fill to lower and upper promenades
– partial demolition of the existing rear wall
Time capsule buried underneath Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme
Published July 2016
Pupils from Northfold Primary School in Thornton Cleveleys were inspired to fill the capsule following a trip to see the defences being built, leaving a lasting legacy for a future generation to discover.
The capsule was buried below what will be the new promenade.
Items inside the time capsule include photos and mementos, such as newspapers and currency, to illustrate daily life now alongside facts about the children and messages to the future.
Contents of the time capsule buried under the Rossall Sea Defences by Northfold School
Views about current hot topics such as the EU referendum and climate change were written about and questions have been put to would be future readers.
Air and water-tight, the time capsule is expected to remain buried for at least a hundred years, the lifespan of the new sea defences.
Time Capsule being buried at Rossall Sea Defences
James Rochester, Class 6 teacher at Northfold Primary School, said: “Class 6 have been learning about how coastlines change over time, so visiting the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme provided amazing first hand insight and the chance to observe the defences gradually taking shape was fascinating.
“Not only have the children benefited from consolidating their class based learning with a real life experience but they’ve had an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and footprint about their own lives, as well as Northfold C.P. School and the surrounding area as it is in 2016.
“Their hope is for the capsule to remain buried for a very long time before at last being unearthed for a future generation to muse and ponder over. What an amazing discovery that would surely be!”
325,000 tonnes of rock armour are being used to create the base of the defences, to weather the harsh conditions on this exposed part of the coastline and allow the beach to build up in the area.
Between the rock revetment and the promenade, specially manufactured precast concrete is being used to form a stepped revetment to break the waves. The promenade will look similar in design to Cleveleys.
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Believed to have been buried in 1927 when sea defence work at that time was completed, the remnants of which were found in 2005 when the third phase of the Cleveleys sea defences were started.
Update June 2016
A second crane is now on site, installing the precast concrete wave wall units.
These sit at the top of the stepped revetment and reflect waves back to sea during storm conditions.
The top of them is over 2m higher than the walls which they replace, yet the rear flood wall is only approx 30cm (one foot) higher than the existing.
Installation of the precast stepped revetment units continues apace.
Over 360 units are in place, on average 7 are installed each day.
Each one weighs 15 tonnes, the equivalent of a double decker bus!
Site Update April 2016
This video was made by That’s Lancashire in April 2016. In it you can see how the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme was built.
A crane and vacuum lifting unit are on site for the placing of precast stepped revetment units. Use of the lifting unit means that the finished quality of the precast units is not compromised with lifting eyes.
Placement of the units commenced on Thursday 3rd March and on average 8 units are being placed per day. To date a total of 73 units have been placed, comprising of approximately 200 metres of lower row units, 100 metres of middle row units and 20 metres of upper row units.
Approximately 120 metres of revetment blinding are prepared ahead of placement of the precast revetment units.
Four complete sets of access steps through the rock revetment have now been installed at groynes 4, 5, 6 and 7 and the adjoining rock revetment has been closed up to each set.
In-situ concrete works continue to the beach access steps and groyne crossover ramps. Out of 18, a total of 6 are now complete with work ongoing to an additional 7. Rock placement continues on the revetment.
Site Update, April 2015
Work has been primarily focussed on the rock revetment over the past few weeks with a total of 140 metres now complete. With only being able to complete a 5 metre strip on a suitable tidal shift, this is a slow process.
All of the upper sea defence structures from the rear of the pile line up to the rear flood wall depend to some extent on the rock revetment being in place prior to them being built.
The construction of the upper precast concrete revetment will be significantly quicker than the lower level. As such there is a delay to this work starting which is why there is currently no construction to the rear of the pile line.
Along with the sea defence works, the land to the rear of the seawall is being developed as an ecology park as part of the project. Lancashire County Council has been employed to develop a design to meet the needs of the local community and stakeholders.
Following a draft design, a number of public consultation meetings were held to discuss and develop the proposals. The design is now in the final stages of development and will be submitted for planning approval in June.
Other activities include demolition of some of the existing groynes and import of large rock, now totalling 103,000 tonnes.
Site Update, March 2015
Work has continued either side of the first 250 metre section of steel piles over the past couple of weeks. On the landward side of the piles 10,400 tonnes of graded stone has been placed and compacted. This stone will form part of the foundation to the precast concrete blocks which will be placed later. As the placing of the precast concrete sections isn’t due to start until September the stone is only being filled up to a level 1.5 metres below the top of the piles at this time.
Completed section of rock revetment.
On the seaward side of the piles, work continues on the construction of the rock revetment with 60 metres being completed so far. Given the amount of rock that is required, only a 5 metre length can be achieved each tidal shift. From the face of the sheet piles the rock revetment is 25 metres wide towards the sea. For every 1 metre strip of this, 64 tonnes of underlayer rock and 100 tonnes of the larger rock is required.
Each tidal shift the beach is excavated to the required profile and covered in a 5 metre wide geotextile mat. The geotextile is a structural fabric and acts as a separation layer between the beach and rock. A 1.8 metre thick layer of underlayer rock is then placed on the geotextile followed by a 2.4 metre thick layer of larger rock on top. Other activities include import of large rock, now totalling 92,500 tonnes.
Site Update, February 2015
The main activities on site in the last month have been the delivery and stockpiling of rocks. The rocks, each weighing between 3t and 7t, are used to construct the rock groynes and the lower half of the sea defence revetment.
The 75 metre long rock groynes will help retain the beach material along the foreshore and also encourage the beach to build up in height. High beach levels help reduce the height of waves that can be generated during a storm.
The sloped rock lower revetment is placed between the beach and mean high water level and is the first line of defence in the new works.
The rocks remove a significant amount of energy from the incoming tide and also deal with the abrasive nature of the sea below high tide. To date, approximately a quarter of the large rock required has been delivered and 5 of the 18 groynes have been constructed. Works to the lower rock revetment started in mid February.
Other activities include repairs to existing defences damaged during recent storms and site investigation works to the grassland at the rear of the sea wall.
Construction activities are increasing so an additional storage area is required for plant and materials. Within the lagoon an area of land seaward of the concrete drainage channel, between the Larkholme Parade access path and the site compound, has been topsoil stripped and covered in recycled material to act as a haul road and storage area. Two piped bridges have been constructed across the concrete channel to allow vehicles to turn around.
Early plans for the Rossall Ecology Zone
Published January 2015
Draft plans are being unveiled for a new ecology zone on the landward side of the new sea defences.
The strip of grassland (above), from West Way to Fairway, is already classed as a Biological Heritage Site (BHS) because of the rarer species of flora and fauna that grow there. BHSs are wildlife sites that are of county-wide importance and are a material consideration in the development planning process. This site was designated for its valuable coastal grassland.
The linear strip of grassland between the back of the sea wall and the road at Fairway is an integral part of the sea defence, trapping overtopping spray during storms. Whilst the area is to be retained as a water storage area it has the capability to become much more. The ongoing sea defence works provide an opportunity to create an attractive and visually interesting site, publicly accessible and rich in wildlife.
Now as part of the sea defence works and Wyre Council’s Five For Fleetwood seafront improvement scheme, the area is being re-designed to create a much more attractive feature and to let people get up close and personal with nature. Early proposals have been drawn up by environmental design experts from Lancashire County Council.
Approval of Plans for Rossall Sea Defence Scheme
Published October 2013
Defra and the Environment Agency have formally approved £86 million of funding and given the green light for work to start on a series of major new coastal defences at Anchorsholme and Rossall, one of the largest flood defence programmes in the UK.
Blackpool and Wyre Councils are working in partnership to improve and replace sea defences between Rossall Hospital and Rossall Point and from Kingsway to Little Bispham at Anchorsholme, protecting 12,000 properties from the risk of coastal flooding.
Councillor Roger Berry, Cabinet member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Council, said: “This news is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by all involved and I’m delighted that we can now get started with making vital improvements to our seawall.
“Although Rossall and Anchorsholme are two different schemes in terms of the type of defences required, Wyre and Blackpool Councils along with the Environment Agency have formed a very fruitful collaboration to ensure the future protection of the Fylde Coast.
Councillor Fred Jackson, Cabinet member for Urban Regeneration at Blackpool Council, said: “We are ecstatic the grant approval letters have arrived for the Anchorsholme Coast Protection Scheme and the work to improve our coastal defences can commence.
“The reconstruction of the seawall is of huge importance and will protect the community of Anchorsholme, their homes, local businesses and highways from flooding and coastal erosion, whilst improving access to the beach.”
Councillor Derek Antrobus, Chair of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, said: “We are committed to reducing the risk of flooding to as many homes and businesses in the North West as possible with the money available.
“The Rossall and Anchorsholme flood defence scheme is one of the biggest currently planned in the UK, which is fantastic for our region and a really positive step towards making communities living on our coastline as resilient to flooding as possible.”
More about the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme
The ingenuity and flair of designers and engineers has given us a promenade and public space at Cleveleys that has won awards and is a space to be proud of. Cleveleys protects over 8,700 properties and 219 industrial units from flooding to a 1 in 200 year standard.
The beach at North/Rossall Promenade, Cleveleys isn’t considered to be at risk of flooding, and as such is unlikely to be rebuilt for at least another 10 to 15 years.
At the end of its useful life
However, the area around the coast in the Rossall stretch around Fairway was getting to the end of its useful life and is the section for which funding was secured for a major engineering construction project. The previous sea defences at Rossall had been estimated as having a potential effective lifespan left of less than five years.
The Rossall flood defences were old and could fail during a major storm, resulting in significant flooding to low lying properties in the area.
The most recent major flood events occurred first in 1927, which resulted in the deaths of six people. Floods happened again in 1977 when over 1,800 properties flooded following a breach of the sea defences.
The existing sea defences are considered to be past their lifespan and progressively failing to the point that ongoing maintenance isn’t practical – the front wall was built in the 1930’s and the rear flood wall in the 1970’s after the last significant floods.
Designing a new seawall
The sea defences at Rossall were recognised nationally as one of the highest risk and most important areas for improvement in England. The area is subjected to some of the highest waves and currents on the Fylde Coast.
Hydraulic modelling is used to understand the effect of wave-overtopping and scour, the effects of the waves and the movement of sediment. Along with a desk study this information is used to design the cross section.
The section scheduled for replacement is the area from Rossall Hospital at the end of Fairway through to Fleetwood Golf Course/Rossall Point. The new scheme covers 1.9km from Westway to the golf course. It follows the line of the existing defences with no changes to alignment. The width of it ranges from 100 to 130m from the seawall to Fairway, and it’s 0.5m higher than the existing.
The existing defences are overlaid with the new, with rock armour revetment and a two tier promenade incorporating intermediate and rear sea walls with landscaping behind.
Planning application 13/00501/LMAJ For all the detailed information submitted as part of this planning application.
Funding to protect 7500 properties
The new sea defences protect 7,495 properties from flooding including businesses, a number of public buildings and critical infrastructure. These include the NHS Pensions office, Fleetwood High School, Rossall Hospital and more besides, along with the Blackpool tramway and the mains sewage network.
The approved strategy was put to the Environment Agency National Project Board in December 2011. A Business Case was then put together and submitted back to the same board in Feb/March 2012.
Local residents were asked to show their backing for the Shoreline Strategy Plan, so that a formal grant application could be made in February 2013, upon which the positive decision was made to grant funding. Tremendous support was received from the local community for the scheme. Over 1500 residents signed pledges of support, plus businesses including Regenda housing association, which manages 900 properties in the area. Fleetwood Town Council increased its annual precept to support the project.
The Fylde Peninsula Coastal Programme secured £86m of funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – £64m for Rossall and £22m for Anchorsholme. A £17m bid for Fairhaven Lake and Church Scar was also successful.
Works also includes the prom on Princes Way at Anchorsholme as one package. Birse Coastal (to become Balfour Beatty) secured the contract against tenders which went out in early 2012 (read about the Anchorsholme Sea Defence scheme here).
Blackpool and Wyre Council worked together to draw down the funds and manage the project as one team. That way they could deliver better value for money by combining expertise and resources.
The highly successful Cleveleys scheme finishes at the Blackpool boundary at Kingsway. There the promenade at Anchorsholme continues as Princes Way. Blackpool engineers determined that the old sea wall on Princes Way was also in a progressive mode of failure.
The new Anchorsholme scheme included the reconstruction of 1km of concrete sea wall defences with promenade and landscaping details.
Replacing Rossall seawall
The proposed Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme includes the replacement of the revetments, seawall, promenade and rear wall. Works have been carried out to the grassed lagoon area and floodwater channel on the landward side.
This section of coastline takes an enormous amount of battering from the elements and is hammered by the tides. It’s very exposed to the harsh environment, and with a shingle beach, the seawall suffers frequent damage. A lower rock revetment has proven to be the most suitable option. The upper part of the seawall, outside of the damage zone is concrete.
Along a changing coastline, the depth of sea defences required is also greater here than at other parts of Cleveleys. It’s wide from front to back, and has a high wall to the rear. There’s a greater volume of construction materials required, reflected in the much greater cost.
The final design disperses the energy of the waves as they crash against the shore, and withstand the constant battering. The top section and promenade is ‘Cleveleys-esque’ in its construction. The wide walkway and split level upper promenade is a pleasant environment that links the coastline between Cleveleys and Fleetwood. It’s an amazing public open space for people to use and enjoy.
Building what people want
This seawall is a totally different landscape to the promenade in the centre of Cleveleys. It’s a more natural and almost wild place which is ideal for solitude and walking and natural history. These physical characteristics are incorporated into the design, which also takes into account the results of a full public consultation which was carried out in early 2010.
Beach users and residents were consulted about how they would like to see the design of the sea defences take shape, and what pastimes the area and beach was used for. Following consultation with the angling community, the original design was adapted to reduce the quantity of rock and provide the lower level promenade.
The existing timber groynes are rebuilt in rock on the same alignment. New slades, beach access ramps, an increased number of steps and access from the upper and lower promenades are all incorporated in the new design. The promenade is cast in cream concrete, and there’s no lighting.
The storm channel area at the road side of the sea defences along Fairway got a complete facelift too. Landscaping works and re-modelling create an improved green open space.
Rossall Sea Defences Prior to Construction Works
How quickly you forget! Take a look at Visit Fleetwood’s own collection of photos from before the new sea wall was constructed. These were all taken in 2009.
While you’re here…
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