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Fairhaven to Church Scar coastal protection scheme officially opened

Almost a year after the Fairhaven coastal protection project completed, and the area re-opened to the public, the official ‘opening’ took place on 22 July. 

VBA, a joint venture between VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and SNC Lavalin’s Atkins business, was awarded the £22m coastal protection project in 2017 by Fylde Council, to provide new coastal defences and upgraded promenades along the Fylde coast at Fairhaven, Church Scar and Granny's Bay. 

The Fairhaven coastal protection scheme involved the replacement of the sea defence walls, as the existing coastal defences were time expired and had been failing. The previous concrete defences were built in the 1890s, and had been undergoing emergency repairs every year to prevent a major breach.  

This scheme mitigates the impact of extreme weather and climate change, by protecting 2,400 residential properties from coastal erosion and flooding. VBA also raised the defences to withstand a 1-in-200-years storm event, giving them a lifespan of 100 years, taking into account predicted sea level rises.  

Further to Fylde Council securing a £21.4m grant from the Environment Agency, VBA delivered the initial scope seven months early and £2.3m under the Project Appraisal Report estimate. This enabled the client to instruct £3.65m of additional work, including replacing the sea wall at Granny’s Bay. VBA completed all the works under budget, and ahead of the contract completion date of December 2020. 

The scheme completed in May 2020; however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was not possible to hold an official opening event at the time. 

VBA joined council officials, including the Mayor and Council Leader, and officials from the Environment Agency, to officially cut the ribbon and mark the end of the heavily praised scheme. 

Mark Cronshaw, framework director for VBA, said: “We are very proud of the work we’ve completed in partnership with Fylde Council, and are thrilled to be celebrating its official opening. The project has provided much needed new coastal protection and an upgraded promenade. Both throughout construction and post completion, it has received some fantastic feedback, which is testament to the entire team’s collaborative approach and dedication.” 

“What we see along the shoreline today is beyond my wildest dreams. I want to thank the fantastic team at Fylde Council and VolkerStevin for all of their hard work, which has been complimented many a time already by residents and visitors to the area. It is absolutely work to be proud of. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to the team at the Environment Agency, as well as the project board, who ensured the process was as smooth as possible throughout.”

Councillor Thomas Threlfall Council-appointed representative for the Fairhaven and Church Scar Sea Defence project board