30 Jan 2014

Totland landslide report published

The Isle of Wight Council is to hold an information event for residents on Wednesday 5 February following the publication of a report into the causes of a major landslide in Totland Bay in December 2012.

Specialist consultants were commissioned by the Isle of Wight Council to investigate the geotechnical factors which led to the landslide.
 
The report identifies that the failure occurred seven metres below the concrete promenade and was triggered by prolonged rainfall during the latter part of 2012. It damaged the seawall over a length of 120 metres pushing it seaward by up to 20 metres. The report also concludes that similar failures could not be ruled out in the Totland Bay area in the future.

The consultants were also asked by the council to provide cost estimates for suitable repair options, and examine whether any of these solutions would attract financial help from central government given that repair costs would be significant.
 
Three potential solutions have been put forward in the report:
 
1. A rock revetment to stabilise the seawall destroyed by the landslide.
2. A rock revetment protecting the entire frontage between Totland Pier and Colwell.
3. A rock revetment at the site of the landslide with a raised splashwall providing improved protection to the base of the coastal slope from waves overtopping the existing seawall.
 
After examining each option, the consultants recommend option three as it protects the failed section and improves protection along the whole frontage. It may also meet the criteria to attract grant aid, however even if funding could be sourced, the council would still need to put in the region of £1.5 million towards an overall cost likely to be above £2 million.
 
Councillor Phil Jordan, Cabinet member for public protection, said: “We understand the considerable public interest in Totland sea wall which is why we felt it was important to publish the report and arrange the information event so that residents can understand the complex issues that we as a council must consider. We are pleased with the level of detail within the report and are working with officers to consider the findings before discussing the matter with the Cabinet.
 
“If a decision is taken to repair the seawall and re-establish public access to the area, the Cabinet will need to consider how the Isle of Wight Council would be able to fund the repair costs in the context of the current severe budget pressures it is facing.
 
“We are now in receipt of a petition signed by more than 4,000 residents and will be looking at the points raised as we consider this section of coastline.”

Public event
 
The information event will take place at Freshwater Memorial Hall on Wednesday 5 February 2014. Isle of Wight Council officers and representatives from specialist consultancy Mott MacDonald will be on hand to discuss the report findings between 2pm and 8pm.
 
Members of the Cabinet will consider the findings of the report. In addition, the matter will go before a future Full Council meeting as the petition contained more than 2,500 signatures. This is in line with the Isle of Wight Council's policy on petitions.
 
The report is available on the Isle of Wight Council’s Coastal Management section website http://www.coastalwight.gov.uk/

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The landslide pushed a large part of the seawall out towards the sea (image HM Solent Coastguard)
The landslide pushed a large part of the seawall out towards the sea (image HM Solent Coastguard)
Factfile
  • The landslide occured in December 2012.
 
Totland Bay Isle of Wight