Cast your vote for new sea defence scheme to win People's Choice Award

Published: 14 May 2024

Ventnor Eastern Esplanade view of concrete flood defence, blue sky and digger bucket

Major sea defence works nearing completion at Ventnor Eastern Esplanade are in line for a People's Choice Award — and Islanders are being urged to cast their vote.

The multi-million-pound project has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 'Integration and Collaborative Working' category in this year's Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2024.

Due to open next week, the new promenade and sea wall are also eligible for a People's Choice Award which is decided by a public vote.

To cast your vote, visit the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards website and scroll to the bottom where you'll find a voting button.

It was in November 2022 that violent storms caused a 35-metre section of the revetment at Eastern Esplanade to collapse, putting homes and businesses at risk.

The failure also exposed a main foul sewer, threatening a major environmental incident.

The Isle of Wight Council acted quickly to appoint experienced marine contractors, Mackley, to carry out urgent works which involved placing dozens of specially engineered rock bags into the main fault, helping to stabilise the area.

Using recycled timber, the company went on to pile more than 150 'king posts' into the seabed, creating a new impregnable sea wall in front of the decaying remains of the old defences which dated back to the 1960s.

This was then backfilled and capped with concrete to form a new promenade which is due to open next week, restoring an important walking and cycling route along the spectacular sea front to Wheelers Bay.

The project involved close partnership working between the council, its contractor Mackley, the Environment Agency, Jacobs, Southern Water, Island Roads and Ventnor Town Council.

Paul Fuller, Cabinet member for planning, coastal protection and flooding, said: "The project has really been an exemplar of collaboration, resourcefulness and commitment by all involved.

"Thanks to the swift actions of council officers and our partners, the emergency was averted, none of the high risks were realised, there was no breach of the sewer, no environmental incident, the collapse didn’t worsen and urgent works were delivered.

"I look forward to walking the new promenade when it reopens next week — just in time for the late May Bank Holiday and the summer months ahead. In the meantime, I'd urge everyone to get behind this Isle of Wight scheme and show their support by voting for it in the #SECBEAwards2024 People's Choice Award."

Natasha Dix, the council's service director for environment and planning, added: "We would like to thank the local community not only for their patience and understanding during these important works, but also their support.

"This scheme was made all the more challenging due to the exposed nature of the site and the very poor weather we experienced last autumn/winter. Our contractors worked double tides at every opportunity to help finish the work as quickly as possible.

"The completion of the Ventnor Eastern Esplanade urgent works marks more than 12 months of hard work and dedication and is testament to our ability, through true collaboration with our partners, to efficiently deliver a challenging coastal defence project."

Voting will close on 20 June 2024.